The U.S. wants to send a message to Beijing that industrial espionage is not fair game -- that's the real point behind criminal charges against five Chinese hackers, analysts say.
The Justice Department on Monday filed charges against five hackers in the Chinese military, accusing them of stealing American trade secrets through cyber-espionage, NBC reported.
China on Tuesday reacted by summoning the U.S. ambassador to China and in a separate statement said its military has never engaged in cyberspying on businesses.
"I would be surprised if this goes all that much further. I think that Washington is trying to send a message that says 'hey we're onto you guys,'" Alexander Kliment, director at the Eurasia Group, told CNBC.
"It would be very difficult for the U.S. to substantially change Chinese behavior in this area without a massive escalation in these charges or a broadening of those charges that could really start to affect the economic interests of the U.S.," he added.
The U.S. and China, the world's two biggest economies, have strong trade ties.