In the administration's toughest language yet on the issue, the president's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, said, "The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country."
"As the president said in the State of the Union, we will take action to protect our economy against cyberthreats," he said in a speech at the Asia Society in New York.
There have been recent U.S. allegations an "overwhelming percentage" of cyberattacks on U.S. companies and government agencies are coming from an office building near Shanghai that's linked to the People's Liberation Army, CNET reported.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both accused China of conducting months-long hacking breaches of the newspapers' websites.
The hacking incidents are "a growing challenge" to the economic relationship between the United States and China, Donilon said.
"We need a recognition of the urgency and scope of this problem and the risk it poses -- to international trade, to the reputation of Chinese industry, and to our overall relations," Donilon said. "Beijing should take serious steps to investigate and put a stop to these activities."