Two US Navy sailors charged with spying for China
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Two US Navy sailors in California have been arrested on charges of providing sensitive military information to China.

A naturalised US citizen, Jinchao Wei, 22, is accused of conspiring to provide Chinese agents with national defence information.

In an arrest for accepting money for sensitive photos and videos, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, 26, was arrested.

Both Chinese agents are alleged to have contacted the pair, but it is unclear whether they spoke to each other.

It was reported that both men were arrested on Wednesday in California, Mr Wei while he was en route to Naval Base San Diego to work.

A news conference was held on Thursday by prosecutors in San Diego to announce the charges.

As a machinist’s mate on the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, Mr Wei held a security clearance and had access to sensitive information.

While going through the process of becoming a US citizen in February 2022, he was allegedly approached by a Chinese agent.

According to the indictment, Mr Wei, also known as Patrick Wei, was paid thousands of dollars for photographs, videos, technical manuals, and blueprints of the ship.

The Justice Department said Mr Wei also provided details of US Marines on a maritime training exercise to the agent.

“We must be prepared to take action when a soldier or sailor chooses money over country and divulges national defence information,” said US Attorney Randy Grossman.

The Chinese government has denied knowledge of the alleged activity so far.

Wall Street Journal quoted China’s embassy in Washington spokesman Liu Pengyu as saying: “The US government and media have frequently hyped up Chinese spying cases.

In addition, “China strongly opposes the US side’s groundless slanders and smears.”