Two U.S. Navy sailors have been arrested on charges of handing over sensitive national security material to China, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The two active-duty members of the Navy have been charged with passing the secrets to Beijing, Assistant attorney-general Matt Olsen told reporters at a press conference in San Diego.
Because of their actions, “sensitive military information ended up in the hands of the People’s Republic of China,” Olsen said.
“There is no bigger, multigenerational threat to the United States than from the government of the People’s Republic of China, the PRC, and the Chinese Communist Party,” said Stacey Moy, the FBI special agent in charge of the San Diego Field Office.
“The PRC will stop at nothing to attack the United States in its strategic plan to become the world’s sole superpower.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the allegations. Representatives for the two sailors could not immediately be identified.
U.S.-China relations have been tense for years over a range of national security and trade issues. The United States has accused China of espionage and cyberattacks, a charge that Beijing has rejected. China has also declared that it is under threat from spies.
Among the other sore points in U.S.-China ties are U.S. export bans on advanced technologies, China’s state-led industrial policies, human rights issues, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade tariffs and Taiwan.