China's foreign minster on Saturday called on nations to cooperate on Internet security, rather than wage cyberwarfare, as he denied accusations in a recent report that the country's military was behind hacking attacks.
"Cyberspace needs not war, but rules and cooperation," said foreign minister Yang Jiechi during a press conference. "We oppose cyberspace becoming a new battlefield, and to using the Internet as a new tool to interfere in another country's internal affairs."
Yang is so far the highest Chinese official to comment on recent allegations that a large number of hacking attacks against foreign companies originated from China. The claims were detailed last month in a report by U.S. security firm Mandiant, which traced the cyber attacks to what it claimed is likely a Chinese military unit based in Shanghai.
During Saturday's press conference, Yang was asked for comment on the matter, and said the hacking allegations fail to stand up to scrutiny. "In terms of Internet security, China is a vulnerable group, and is one of the countries that faces the most severe cyber attacks," he said.
Yang added that China has continually promoted establishing a "peaceful and secure" Internet, and supported rules on the matter in the U.N. "I hope that the relevant parties will stop the irresponsible attacks and criticism, and instead take practical actions to promote mutual trust and cooperation," he said.
Chinese officials have continually disputed any involvement in cyber attacks, but the nation has often been named as the origin for high-profile hacking attempts. In 2011, security vendor McAfee also released a report claiming that a Chinese server provider had assisted hackers in stealing data from foreign companies.