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Iran Press TV

Washington warns China over covert agents operating on US soil

Iran Press TV

Aug 17, 2015 6:0AM

The administration of President Barack Obama has warned China about Chinese agents it claims are operating secretly in the United States to hunt down and repatriate fugitives--some of whom wanted in China.

Citing unnamed US officials, The New York Times reported Sunday that the mission, dubbed Operation Fox Hunt, is part of Beijing's global manhunt seeking to pressure fugitives, wanted for corruption and other misdeeds, to return to China.

The US State Department issued the warning to the Chinese officials in recent weeks and demanded a halt to the secret activities.

The Times said the agents, working not as spies but rather undercover for China's Ministry of Public Security, were most likely entering the US with tourism or trade visas.

The officials claim that the Chinese agents, described as mostly young, highly skilled officers, use various strong-arm tactics to get fugitives to return. The harassment, which has included threats against family members in China, has intensified recently, they said.

The officials, however, refused to provide specific evidence of the activities by the Chinese agents.

Chinese news media previously reported that the government has sent scores of security agents abroad to “persuade” their targets to return home.

Citing the Ministry of Public Security officials, The Times said over 930 suspects from across the world have been repatriated to China since last year under the program.

The warning to Beijing is expected to complicate Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Washington next month.

China and the United States are at loggerheads over other issues, including cyber security and China's devaluation of its currency.

China strongly objects to what it considers US meddling, accusing the US of destabilizing the Asia Pacific region by strengthening its military alliances and sending more ships, aircraft, and troops to the region.

Washington, for its part, continues to stress that it has national interests in the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the region, but has given no room for China to expand its enterprises there.

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