(Adds U.S. comment, paragraphs 2-3 and 10-12)
BEIJING/WASHINGTON, March 24 China wants a clear
explanation from Washington over reports that the U.S. National
Security Agency infiltrated servers at the headquarters of
telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co, a Chinese
foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the reports in a meeting
with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a nuclear
summit in The Hague and was told that the United States did not
spy to gain commercial advantage, White House deputy national
security adviser Ben Rhodes said.
"We don't share information with our companies," Rhodes told
reporters in Washington.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was
"extremely concerned" about the spying allegations.
"Recently, the international media has put out a lot of
reports about the eavesdropping, surveillance and stealing of
secrets by the United States of other countries, including
China," he told a regular briefing.
"China has already lodged many complaints with the United
States about this. We demand that the United States makes a
clear explanation and stop such acts."
Questions over cyber-espionage have cast a shadow over
China-U.S. ties, with each side accusing the other of spying.
On Saturday, The New York Times and German magazine Der
Spiegel published articles on information about Huawei contained
in classified documents that were provided to journalists by
former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Der Spiegel also reported that the NSA was targeting China's
political leadership, including former President Hu Jintao and
the trade and foreign ministries.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she could
not comment on specific operations in specific countries, but
all U.S. intelligence activity was required by law to be
"focused on the national security needs of our country."
"We collect signals intelligence exclusively where there is
a foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence purpose," she
told a regular news briefing.
"In other words, we don't collect these things to give U.S.
companies economic advantage."
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and David Brunnstrom and
Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Megha Rajagopalan; Editing
by Clarence Fernandez and Grant McCool)