White House National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed this week that China carried out the cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management in the theft of more than 22 million sensitive records on American government officials.
Bolton disclosed the Chinese hacking in unveiling the Trump administration's new national cyber strategy, which shifts the focus of security efforts from the passive approach of the administration of President Barack Obama to a proactive, aggressive stance against cyber attacks.
"For any nation that's taking cyber activity against the United States … we will respond offensively as well as defensively," Bolton bluntly stated at the White House Thursday.
China has been the most aggressive in conducting cyber espionage and cyber technology theft against the United States.
The National Security Agency estimated several years ago that China obtained 50 terabytes of data through cyber espionage, including details on F-35 and F-22 jets, space-based lasers, and other valuable data.
Intelligence officials believe the Chinese are using the stolen data to conduct data mining operations in seeking potential spy recruits or identifying targets for cyber espionage.
Obama and his administration refused to publicly blame China for conducting the attack over fears of upsetting U.S. trade and diplomatic relations with Beijing.