BEIJING (Reuters) - China will next month conduct its first “digital” technology military exercise, state media said on Wednesday, against growing concern in Washington and elsewhere about Chinese hacking attacks.
A brief report by the official Xinhua news agency said the exercise, in north China’s remote Inner Mongolia region, will “test new types of combat forces including units using digital technology amid efforts to adjust to informationalized war”.
“It will be the first time a People’s Liberation Army exercise has focused on combat forces including digitalized units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces,” the brief English-language report added.
President Barack Obama will discuss cyber security with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in California next week, as Washington becomes increasingly worried about Chinese hacking of U.S. military networks.
The Pentagon underscored its concerns in a report to Congress earlier this month, accusing China of using cyber espionage to modernize its military. It said the U.S. government has been the target of hacking that appeared to be “attributable directly to the Chinese government and military”.
In Australia this week, a report by Australia’s ABC Television said hackers linked to China stole the floor plans of a new A$630 million headquarters for the Australia Security Intelligence Organization, the country’s domestic spy agency.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied any involvement in hacking attacks, even as it steps up defense spending and develops new technologies such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.
(This story corrects the timing of the exercise to next month, not next week)
Reporting by Ben Blanchard