At the same time, there has been no decline in Chinese hackers'
efforts to break into U.S. networks, the official said.
In May, the Justice Department charged five Chinese military members
with hacking the systems of U.S. companies to steal trade secrets,
prompting Beijing to suspend a Sino-U.S. working group on cyber
issues. China denies the charges and has in turn accused Washington
of massive cyber spying.
U.S. and Chinese officials had started working together to combat
certain types of online crime, including money laundering, child
pornography and drug trafficking, the U.S. official said. But that
cooperation has stopped.
"We are in time out," the official told Reuters. "They don't want to
talk to us. Everything is really cold."
Asked whether attempts to hack into U.S. networks that originate in
China had slowed, the official said: "They have been very active and
this hasn't changed a bit."
The new chill underscores the fragility of the efforts to ease
tensions and mutual accusations of hacking and Internet theft
between China and the United States, at the expense of the security
areas where the nations had reached some understanding.
The indictments, the first criminal hacking charge the United States
has filed against specific foreign officials, put more strain on a
complex commercial relationship between the two economic powers and
created new troubles for some U.S. technology companies doing
business in China.
Beijing has responded with a promise to investigate all U.S.
providers of important IT products and services, though it has not
specified the move was a direct retaliation.
Chinese state media has also lashed out, without indicating a
connection, at U.S. firms including Google, Apple, Yahoo, Cisco
Systems, Microsoft and Facebook with allegations of spying and
[to top of second column]
The charges added to the existing tensions stemming from revelations
by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden of vast
U.S. Internet surveillance.
Some technology executives have privately complained about the lack
of warning from the U.S. Justice Department. The U.S. official said
only "a small group" was informed about the indictments ahead of
Though unlikely to result in arrests, U.S. observers saw the charges
as an aggressive move to thwart the theft of trade secrets. Max
Baucus, the new U.S. ambassador to China, called Chinese cyber
espionage a threat to U.S. national security in his first major
public address on Wednesday.
"We will continue to use diplomatic and legal means to make clear
that this type of behavior must stop," Baucus said.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing
by Ros Krasny and Leslie Adler)
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