China summons German ambassador after spying arrests

FILE PHOTO: The flags of Germany and China are seen in Berlin, Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German ambassador to China was summoned by Beijing on Thursday in response to several arrests in Germany on suspicion of Chinese espionage, a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry told Reuters.

The spokesperson added that the Chinese envoy to Berlin had been summoned earlier in the week to be briefed on the government's "clear position on the ongoing investigations into suspected Chinese espionage activities".

On Tuesday, an aide to a European Parliament member for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was arrested on suspicion of passing information about discussions in the EU legislature to Chinese intelligence and spying on the Chinese opposition.

Earlier in the week, German authorities arrested three people in a separate case about funneling sensitive technology to China for military purposes, fuelling wider anxieties about Europe as a target for Chinese spying operations.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Writing by Friederike Heine; Editing by Madeline Chambers)