In fact, he added, any sanctions are unlikely to be particularly onerous for Beijing.
"The U.S. isn't going to impose wide sanctions on China, particularly with wider economic concerns now," Reed said, referring to worries that China may be losing its grip on an ongoing growth deceleration. "It's going to be difficult to find meaningful sanctions to impose."
A spokeswoman for the Treasury did not respond to a request for comment, and a State Department spokesman said in a news briefing earlier this month that he could not comment on whether there were plans for sanctions on China.
"When it comes to economic sanctions, we don't preview any kind of sanctions beforehand for obvious reasons. We don't want to give a heads-up to those who may be potential targets of economic sanctions to begin to take steps to evade sanctions activity," said Mark Toner, the State spokesman, directing further inquiry to the Treasury Department.
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If sanctions are in fact announced this month, they could have repercussions for a planned state visit from Xi. A Sunday report from The Hill cited experts theorizing that the Chinese president could cancel his trip to Washington in retaliation for economic impositions.
Despite these warnings, Stockton said he hoped that the Obama administration could find common ground on cyber espionage with Xi.
"We should try to find shared areas of concern: The efforts should be made even if piecemeal progress is the only thing possible," Stockton said, adding that establishing a baseline agreement on respect for intellectual property may be a good place to start.
"One step at a time can still take us a significant way," he added.
U.S. officials have said they suspect China was behind a massive breach at the Office of Personnel Management that exposed the personal data of millions of citizens.
—Reuters contributed to this report.