A US Department of Defence (DoD) report has squarely accused China of engaging in hostile cyber-espionage campaigns against American interests.
Despite numerous assertions in the past from both sides, it is the first time the Pentagon has made such direct comments in an annual report.
The 'Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China' paper also outlines the role it believes Chinese electronic warfare would play in any future conflict.
The DoD alleges the Chinese government and military on a number of occasions have targeted America's "diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors".
The aim of these attacks has been to extract information to "support intelligence collection against the US".
China has denied the accusations, calling them "irresponsible and harmful to the mutual trust between the sides".
Senior Col. Wang Xinjun, a People's Liberation Army researcher, added: "The Chinese government and armed forces have never sanctioned hacking activities.
"Both China and the U.S. are victims of cybercrimes and should work together to tackle the problems."
The UK government recently revealed it was facing around 33,000 cyber attacks each month from sophisticated criminals and state-sponsored groups.Suggest a correction