PLA condemns US as 'the real hacking empire'
Military accuses Washington of trying to drive a wedge between China and its neighbours
Agencies and Minnie Chan
Beijing branded the United States the "real hacking empire" yesterday and accused it of sowing discord between China and its neighbours.
The rebuke was issued after the Pentagon said Beijing was using espionage to fuel its military modernisation.
The People's Liberation Army Daily called the Pentagon report "gross interference in China's internal affairs".
The commentary added: "Promoting the 'China military threat theory' can sow discord between China and other countries, especially its relationship with neighbouring countries, to contain China and profit from it."
Defence ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng also accused the Pentagon of driving a wedge between Beijing and Taipei by playing up military imbalances across the Taiwan Strait.
The latest salvoes came a day after the foreign ministry rejected as groundless a Pentagon report which accused China for the first time of trying to break into US defence computer networks.
The Pentagon also cited progress in Beijing's efforts to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft and build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.
The PLA Daily said much of the information in the Pentagon report had been "copied and pasted from speculation" circulating on mainland military websites, but did not say which parts of the report it was referring to.
Antony Wong Dong, from the Macau-based International Military Association, said the PLA Daily's anger had further exposed the Chinese military's brittleness about such accusations.
"It is common sense that the internet is one of the key sources for intelligence gathering … so the more angry the PLA gets, the more it means the Pentagon's report is professional and accurate," he said. "Indeed, the Pentagon prepared at least two versions of that report, with another non-public one directly sent to Congress and US Army for internal reference containing more secret military intelligence."
The PLA Daily claimed that the US was "trumpeting China's military threat to promote its domestic interest groups and arms dealers" and added that "US arms manufacturers are gearing up to start counting their money".
The remarks in the newspaper underscore the escalating mistrust between Beijing and Washington over hacking.