The chiefs of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United Kingdom’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 on Thursday urged business leaders of the two nations to be vigilant about threats posed by the Chinese government and the country’s ruling Chinese Communist Party.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director General Ken McCallum made the remarks at a joint address to business leaders and academic leaders in London.

“We consistently see that it is the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by ‘our’, I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere,” Wray said, according to the Associated Press.

Wray urged business leaders to partner with the FBI and MI5 so that they could have the “appropriate intelligence” about threats posed by China-based entities.

“Maintaining a technological edge may do more to increase a company’s value than would partnering with a Chinese company to sell into that huge Chinese market, only to find the Chinese government and your ‘partner’ stealing and copying your innovation,” he added.

McCallum said that the Chinese Communist Party was “covertly applying pressure across the globe” and that was the “most game-changing challenge” for the United States and United Kingdom. He said that in late 2021, Chinese intelligence officer Shu Yenjoon was convicted in a United States court on charges of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.

The MI5 chief said that both the United States and United Kingdom had take action to halt the Chinese Communist Party’s acquisition of entities that provided cutting edge national security advantage.

“In 2020 the US stopped issuing new visas in certain fields to researchers from People’s Liberation Army universities,” he said. “In the UK we have reformed the Academic Technology Approval Scheme to harden our defences, and we have seen over 50 PLA-linked students leave.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, rejected the allegations by the chiefs of the FBI and MI5, adding that Beijing opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks, AP reported.

“We will never encourage, support or condone cyber attacks,” the spokesperson said.