( dpa )- The United States has charged four people in two separate cases of espionage involving the passing of military secrets to the Chinese government, authorities said Monday.
The suspects include an analyst in the Pentagon's office overseeing foreign military sales, Greg Bergersen, 51, and Dongfan "Greg" Chung, a 72-year old former Boeing engineer.
Prosecutors said the cases reflect China's growing determination to steal US military weapons and technological secrets, and is becoming one of the most aggressive countries in the world when it comes to spying on the United States.
"There are a number of countries that have proven themselves particularly adept and particularly determined and methodical in their espionage efforts," said Kenneth Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security. "The People's Republic of China is one of those countries."
Bergersen, of Arlington, Virginia, faces 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of providing secret information to someone not permitted to receive it. Bergersen allegedly provided documents detailing planned US military sales to Taiwan to an agent of the Chinese government.
The person was Tai Shen Kuo, 58, a naturalized US citizen and New Orleans resident in the furniture business believed to have taken the information from Bergersen. A fourth individual, Yu Xin Kang, 33, also of New Orleans, has been charged with serving as the conduit between Kuo and the Chinese. The activities took place between January 2006 and February 2008.
Kang and Kuo face life sentences if convicted for passing classified US documents to a foreign government.
Chung faces eight counts of economic espionage, one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, one count of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements.
Chung allegedly provided the Chinese government with information about the US space shuttle programme, military aircraft and rockets while he was working for Rockwell International from 1973 and later Boeing until 2006. Boeing bought Rockwell in 1986. He faces 15 years in prison for each count of economic espionage.