Chinese army to conduct 'digital' war games for first time

PLA will attempt to adjust to 'informationalised war' amid growing concern about the country's hacking attacks

The people's Liberation Army is planning to conduct its first “digital” technology military war games next month, part of its efforts to adjust to “informationalised war”, the Xinhua news agency has reported.

The drill of China's digital army capability comes amid growing concern in Washington and elsewhere about Chinese hacking attacks, especially on military networks. President Barack Obama will discuss cyber security with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting in California next week.

“It will be the first time a PLA exercise has focused on combat forces including digitalised units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces,” the report said, citing the military's general staff department.

The PLA is the largest military force in the world, with 2.3 million personnel. It has made introducing information technology with military applications a priority as it tries to modernise and catch up with Western militaries.

Xinhua said the drill would be carried out in late June at the Zhurihe training base in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China's largest military training field.

Forces from the 38th and 68th combined corps of the Beijing Military Area Command as well eight military academies would participate, according to the department.

The Pentagon underscored its concerns about China's activities in a report to Congress earlier this month, accusing China of using cyber espionage to modernise its military.

The Beijing government has repeatedly denied any involvement in hacking attacks, even as it steps up defence spending and develops new technologies such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.

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