13:04 03.08.2015(updated 14:40 03.08.2015)
China has warned the US to "think twice" before lashing out at Beijing due to unfounded hacking accusations, cautioning that it is "strongly determined to protect the safety of its cyber space and reserves all rights to counter any outside threats and intrusions", the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.
China has responded to recent threats issued by the US that it would strike back at Beijing for the theft of personal information from the databases of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which allegedly originated in China.
It cautions that the US is "on the brink of making another grave mistake in the name of protecting cyber security".
"The United States, which made a mistake last year when it brought false charges against Chinese officers, should not repeat the mistake by taking retaliatory measures against China over the OPM incident," read an op-ed article in New China, the English language website of its state news agency Xinhua.
"Just like it protects its territorial sovereignty and integrity, China is strongly determined to protect the safety of its cyber space and reserves all rights to counter any outside threats and intrusions. It will meet any form of political or economic retaliation with corresponding countermeasures," it further warns.
On Friday, the US media reported that President Barack Obama's administration had determined to retaliate against China for its alleged theft of the personnel information of more than 20 million Americans from the database of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), but the forms and specific measures of the retaliation have not been decided.
The report added that Obama has allegedly ordered his staff to come up with 'a more creative set of responses,' while a US official hinted that the United States will employ 'a full range of tools to tailor a response.'
Xinhua says that the US is "demonizing China as the culprit behind the massive breach of the OPM computer networks. As witnessed by most past similar cases, the US government, Congress and media have once again called for punishing China for this, after a top US intelligence official indirectly pointed a finger at China."
China, however, has repeatedly stated that it is against all forms of cyber-attacks and will crack down on them, as it has long been a major victim of such illegal activities, many of which originated in the United States.
China has also called for conducting cooperation with the US side and any other country to protect cyber-security and its peaceful order.
"By repeatedly blaming China for hacking into its government computers, Washington apparently tries to portray Beijing as the No. 1 bad guy in cyber space, but this is doomed to fail because the United States is the most powerful country with the most advanced cyber-technology," the agency says.
It supposes that cyber-security has become another tool for Washington to exert pressure on China and another barrier that restrains the further development of China-US relations.
"By heating up the issue of the OPM hacking, Washington perhaps also aims to pressure China to restore the bilateral cyber work group which was suspended last year after Washington sued five Chinese military officers on so-called charges of commercial espionage despite strong protests from China," it adds.
As exposed by former US defense contractor Edward Snowden, it says, the US government has been notoriously and blatantly engaged in worldwide surveillance operations against numerous other countries. To divert criticism against its relentless espionage activities, it portrays itself as a victim of cyber-attacks.
"If it stubbornly implements retaliatory measures against China in cyber-space, it will be known for being a cyber-bully and will have to shoulder responsibility for escalating confrontation and disrupting the peaceful order in cyber space," it adds.