China says accusations against alleged spy 'out of thin air'

BEIJING (AP) — China says accusations against an alleged spy of attempting to steal trade secrets from several American aviation and aerospace companies were "made out of thin air."

Yanjun Xu, an operative of China's Ministry of State Security, was charged Wednesday in Ohio after being extradited to the U.S. from Belgium.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang dismissed the allegations Thursday and called on the U.S. to deal with the matter "fairly in accordance with law" and ensure Xu's "legitimate rights and interests."

The Justice Department has accused Xu of recruiting experts who worked at the companies and paying them stipends to travel to China in order to obtain trade secrets.

The case comes amid a brewing trade war based largely on U.S. accusations China coerces foreign companies into handing over technology.