The Chinese military has opened its first cyber base headquarters but has assured that the facility was not aimed at launching cyber war.
People's liberation Army (PLA) on Monday launched the centre dedicated to handling all types of cyber threats and related issues.
The centre marks the debut of a new force in China to tackle potential cyber threats and to safeguard national security, PLA Daily reported but did not mention the location of headquarters.
It marks the emergence of China's military power in information support and security, the daily said. "The setup of the base just means that our army is strengthening its capacity and is developing potential military officers to tackle information-based warfare," a top army official said, denying the perception that it was aimed at penetrating other country's networks for disrupting them.
The base will be used to gather online information and "build up walls" to safeguard confidential military information, he added.
"It is a 'defensive' base for information security, not an offensive headquarters for cyber war," he was quoted assaying by Global Times.
He also said that the question about whether to build a cyber war headquarters similar to that of the US or not had triggered a heated debate among some senior military officials in China.
The current level of information technology in the Chinese army lags behind that of the US.
Meanwhile there are 13 DNS servers around the globe, of which the root server and nine others are all located in US, he said.
Li Fei, a network security expert at the National Defence University, told the Global Times that the major purpose for establishing the base was to enhance the army's strength in network defence, but he refused to give details about the base.
Cyber security attracted worldwide concern recently.
Some foreign media blamed Chinese hackers for a string of attacks on some websites that belong to government agencies and military institutions in other countries, including some sensitive ministries in India.
Refuting the reports, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) of China said "most foreign countries that developed advanced informational system and cyber technology are equipped with professional hacker teams."
"They never mention their cyber force but keep rumour mongering and overstating the cyber threat from Chinese hackers, which conversely reflect they're covering up their political purpose of building up a cyber army," Zhou Yonglin, an official with CNCERT, Xinhua News Agency reported.