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China to strengthen Internet security after U.S. spying report

An illustration picture shows the logo of the U.S. National Security Agency on the display of an iPhone in Berlin, June 7, 2013.
CREDIT: REUTERS/PAWEL KOPCZYNSKI
An illustration picture shows the logo of the U.S. National Security Agency on the display of an iPhone in Berlin, June 7, 2013. CREDIT: REUTERS/PAWEL KOPCZYNSKI

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will beef up its internet security after recent reports that the U.S. government spied on a major telecommunications firm, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Reports that the U.S. National Security Agency infiltrated servers at the headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co. "lay bare the United States's hypocrisy and despotic rule," ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a briefing.

"For a while now, some Americans have jabbered on and on, condemning Chinese hacking attacks," he said. "But the truth is that this is without any basis in fact, it's simply a thief crying 'Stop, thief!'"

The ministry did not say what steps would be taken to strengthen Internet security.

The White House has said that the U.S. does not spy to gain commercial advantage. Cyber-espionage has cast a shadow over China-U.S. ties, with each side accusing the other of spying.

On Saturday, The New York Times and German magazine Der Spiegel published articles on information about Huawei contained in classified documents given to journalists by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In the same briefing, Geng warned the United States not to sell arms to Taiwan, which China sees as a rogue province. U.S. sales of weapons to the democratic and self-ruled island have long incensed Beijing.

He added that U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel would visit China April 7-10, a trip that would take in a People's Liberation Army academy.

U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April.

Asked about a mass stabbing at a train station in a southwestern city in March that left 29 dead and about 140 wounded, Geng said that the military was well prepared to "strike back at all kinds of violent terrorist activities".

(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan and Li Hui; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Larry King)

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