The Pentagon has accused China of trying to extract sensitive information from U.S. government computers, the latest in a series of rhetorical skirmishes between the two countries on the issue of cyberattacks. The frank assessment, made in an annual report to U.S. lawmakers on Chinese military capabilities, is the harshest and most detailed set of accusations made thus far by the Obama administration. "In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," the report said. The Pentagon said China is carrying out the attacks in an effort to extract information from "diplomatic, economic and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs." The intellectual property and data is likely being used to bolster China's own defense and high tech industries, the report said. Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday that China is "firmly against any forms of cyberattacks." The government has in the past insisted that China is the victim of cyberattacks, most originating in the U.S.