China military calls for stronger cybersecurity, domestic software: State media

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's armed forces will ramp up their cybersecurity and speed domestic development of software, state media said on Wednesday, as the world's largest military seeks to shore up potential technological weaknesses.

The statement underscores China's increasingly vocal concern over the Internet and cybersecurity, which it sees as dominated by Western powers and values. "Information security must be considered an underlying project in military battle preparedness," the official People's Liberation Army Daily said. "We will strongly advance the domestic and independent building of programmes, and strengthen the foundations of our information security," it added.

President Xi Jinping, who also heads the military, himself helms a government body for internet security, which aims to turn China into a "cyber power".

Foreign technology companies in China face challenges from a sharp drop-off in sales linked to increased awareness of cybersecurity and the role of the US government in cyberespionage.

State media have also criticised American technology firms, in particular, over security concerns.

Cybersecurity shot into the global spotlight after former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year revealed US government spying and surveillance campaigns, including targeting the People's Liberation Army.

China and the United States regularly trade accusations over cyberespionage.

The issue of Chinese state-sponsored hacking is highly sensitive. Tensions between Washington and Beijing have grown since May, when a U.S. grand jury indicted five Chinese military officers on charges they hacked into American companies for sensitive manufacturing secrets. China has denied the charges.

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