The United States wants to make it more politically uncomfortable for China to launch so many cyberattacks, with various retaliatory options on the table if China doesn't better behave with its numerous cyberespionage activities. Earlier in the year, China was blamed as the leading source of cyberattacks, and the attacks are increasingly towards stealing intellectual property - or disrupting critical infrastructure.
China has recently talked about improving its own Web security practices, in an effort to defend against U.S. and British spying. The Department of Justice filed charges against several Chinese Army officials, signaling a stronger response to foreign-based cyberattacks:
"Criminal charges can justify economic sanctions from our colleagues in the Treasury Department, sanctions that prevent criminals from engaging in financial transactions with U.S. entities and deny access to the U.S. financial system," said John Carlin, Justifice Department national security division head, when discussing the current state of foreign cyberaffairs. "They can facilitate diplomacy by the State Department."