China is set to hold its first ever digital war games, amidst growing US concerns about alleged Chinese espionage focused on military technology.
State news agency Xinhua reported that the People's Liberation Army will be holding exercises next month to "test new types of combat forces including units using digital technology amid efforts to adjust to informationalised war".
The war games will be held late in June at China's Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base, the largest military training area in Inner Mongolia. Exercising troops will focus on "combat forces including digitalised units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces", the agency reported.
The news comes as the US government becomes increasingly agitated about China's alleged cyber activities, in particular the country's theft of intellectual property through hack attacks.
Just this week, the Washington Post reported that a Pentagon task force had found that the designs for most of America's advanced weapons systems and platforms had been hacked, including the Patriot missile system and the F-35 Lightning II jet, which the UK is jointly procuring along with the US.
When asked about the report, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that President Barack Obama would be discussing cybersecurity with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping when they meet in California next week.
"I would refer you to the Pentagon for specifics about the potential hacking of weapon systems," Carney said. "But I would note, as you’ve heard from the President, his National Security Advisor and others, as well as myself, cybersecurity is a key priority of this administration.
"It is a key concern that we have. It is an issue that we raise at every level in our meetings with our Chinese counterparts and I’m sure will be a topic of discussion when the President meets with President Xi in California in early June.
"It was certainly a topic of conversation when National Security Advisor Donilon was having meetings in China, from which he is just returning now." ®