China expressed surprise about reports India had planned a secret military exercise targeting Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
India's Hindustan Times reported last week that the Indian army had on March 25 concluded a three-day military exercise codenamed Divine Matrix, based on the assumption a "nuclear-armed China will attack India before 2017".
It said that before the exercise, the Indian military spent six months studying various hypothetical scenarios of war with Beijing and concluded: "China would rely on information warfare to bring India down on its knees before launching an offensive."
It also quoted an officer as saying the People's Liberation Army can now "launch an assault very quickly, without any warning".
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing: "We are surprised by the report. Leaders of China and India had already reached consensus that the two countries will not pose a threat to each other but rather treat each other as partners."
China is willing to work with India to boost relations over the long term, he said.
Qin also dismissed allegations yesterday that China was involved in worldwide computer espionage, accusing the report's authors of being "possessed by the Cold War ghost".
The Toronto-based Information Warfare Monitor report released on Saturday said that over the past two years, at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries were breached by software used for spying. It said the spy ring was mostly based in China but could not be definitively linked to the government.
Hacking targets included computers used by the Dalai Lama and his "government-in-exile", the report said.
But the Canadian researchers admitted in the report that they are unsure of the identities or motivations of the hackers, adding that alternative explanations are possible.
"Nowadays, the problem is that there are some people abroad bent on fabricating lies about so-called Chinese computer espionage," Qin said.
"Internationally, there's a ghost called the Cold War and a virus called the China threat. People possessed by the Cold War ghost constantly spread this China threat virus."
China pays great attention to computer network security, and resolutely opposes and fights any criminal activity harmful to computer networks, such as hacking, he said.
"These people's attempts to vilify China through rumors will never succeed," he said.
Qin said China is still waiting for France to address its grave concerns before President Hu Jintao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy could plan talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit scheduled to start tomorrow in London.
Such a meeting could help mend the countries' bilateral ties, which soured after Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama in Poland last year.