China has dismissed as a “farce” and “politically-motivated” accusations by US President Donald Trump that Beijing has been involved in a massive cyberattack in the United States.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the comments at a daily press briefing in the capital Beijing on Monday, after Trump pointed that China may have been the source of the widespread cyberattack on the government’s military, intelligence and financial institutions.
Wang said Trump's remarks are not serious and are "self-contradictory," adding that Washington’s accusations against Beijing have "always been a farce, out of political motives.”
"The US has politicized cybersecurity issues, continuously spread false information without conclusive evidence... in an attempt to destroy China's image and mislead the international community," he said.
In a Twitter post on Saturday, Trump downplayed a massive cyberattack on US government agencies, declaring it "under control" and undercutting the assessment by his own administration that Russia was to blame.
He also declared that Beijing "may" have been involved, without providing any evidence.
Trump’s remarks contradicted earlier statements by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several US lawmakers briefed on the issue.
As of Friday, agencies, including the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Treasury Department, had been breached as part of the alleged espionage operation.
Technology company SolarWinds Corp, which was the key stepping-stone used by the hackers, said up to 18,000 of its customers had downloaded a compromised software update that allowed hackers to spy unnoticed on businesses and agencies for almost nine months.
In the meantime, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence founded an urgent group -- the Cyber Unified Coordination Group -- to coordinate the government’s responses to the developing cyberattack.
Pompeo accused Russia of being behind the extensive data breach, saying it was “pretty clearly” Moscow’s work.
Numerous US lawmakers also accused Russia of involvement in the latest cyberattack and called for strong measures to prevent future hacking efforts as well as reprisal actions to deter such intrusions.
The Kremlin, however, has denied any involvement in the reportedly ongoing hacking spree.
American officials have expressed growing fears over the data breach, warning that it poses “a grave risk” to federal, state and local governments, as well as “critical infrastructure entities.”
Lawmakers have called on the White House to declassify what it knows, and what it does not know about the recent hack.
The hack attack came despite the US installation of defensive sensors all around the country to deter such raids.
The United States has also previously accused China of being behind cyberattacks.
Back in May, the US claimed that Beijing-linked hackers were trying to capture data from its research on ways of treating COVID-19-hit patients and developing vaccines for the disease.
Beijing strongly rejected the allegations at the time, condemning them as slander.