House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik is expressing renewed criticism of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent trip to China, labeling it as “unacceptable.” This comes after reports surfaced that the State Department had discovered a hack into official emails just as Blinken was preparing to embark on the trip.

According to Stefanik, “The State Department was aware that Communist China was engaged in an extensive hacking campaign to gather intelligence on the United States, yet Secretary Blinken still proceeded with the trip to Beijing, inadvertently legitimizing the aggressive actions of the CCP in the process.” Stefanik, a representative from New York, shared these concerns in a statement to Fox News Digital.

Stefanik continued, stating, “This is completely unacceptable, and it is precisely why I called for the cancellation of Secretary Blinken’s trip.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China President Xi Jinping

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakes hands with China President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 19, 2023.
(LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Times recently reported that the State Department uncovered a hacking incident in May, targeting the email accounts of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and State Department officials, just prior to Blinken’s scheduled trip to Beijing. This trip had been delayed earlier due to a Chinese spy balloon incident in February. The intrusion was discovered by the State Department on June 16, the same day Blinken departed from Washington, D.C., for the trip.

The department commented, “The Department of State detected abnormal activity, took immediate measures to secure our systems, and will continue to closely monitor and swiftly respond to any further activity. As part of our cybersecurity policy, we do not disclose specific details about our response, and the incident remains under investigation.”

The State Department assured that no classified information was accessed through the compromised emails, according to The New York Times.

This incident is the latest in a series of aggressive actions by the Chinese regime, which includes sending a spy balloon across the U.S. and attempting to establish spy bases in Cuba. China has also been engaged in a widespread hacking campaign against the United States and other countries.

The intelligence community’s annual threat assessment has identified China as the most significant cyber espionage threat to U.S. government and private-sector networks, describing it as the “most active, persistent, and broadest” threat.

According to Reuters, Blinken conveyed to China’s top diplomat this week that any action targeting the U.S. government, companies, or citizens is a cause for serious concern, and that appropriate measures will be taken to hold those responsible accountable.