China reacted angrily on Friday following a call by America's top intelligence official for cyber security against China to be stepped up, and said the United States should stop "groundless accusations."
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the United States must beef up cyber security against Chinese hackers targeting a range of U.S. interests to raise the cost to China of engaging in such activities. Clapper's testimony adds pressure on Beijing over its conduct in cyberspace weeks before President Xi Jinping visits the United States.
China routinely denies any involvement in hacking and says it is also a victim.
"Maintaining cyber security should be a point of cooperation rather than a source of friction between both China and the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.
"We hope that the U.S. stops its groundless attacks against China, start dialogue based on a foundation of mutual respect, and jointly build a cyberspace that is peaceful, secure, open and cooperative."
The Obama administration is considering targeted sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for cyber attacks against U.S. commercial targets, several U.S. officials have said.
Chinese hackers wee also implicated in extensive hacking of the U.S. government's personnel office disclosed this year.