A coordinated offensive against Chinese cyber-espionage from the United States and its allies shows a different approach to countering what they call theft of commercial and government secrets.
The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined Washington on Thursday in condemning cyber-espionage on the same day that Washington indicted two Chinese nationals, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, for participating in a 12-year global hacking campaign in conjunction with the Chinese government.
China's Foreign Ministry has rejected the accusations, calling them "slanderous."
The fact that Thursday's offensive was executed as a united front is significant, Abigail Grace, research associate in the Asia-Pacific security program at the Center for New American Security said in a tweet.
"Incredibly significant that this action was rolled out in conjunction with U.S. allies and partners. Multilateralism demonstrates that these are not U.S. standards or Western norms we're requesting China abide by--the international community demands that China does better."
Through trade and foreign policy actions, U.S. President Donald Trump has chastised China for side-stepping international standards for its own economical, technological and military benefit.
While the U.S.— both under Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama — has long been publicly critical of Beijing's cyber wrongdoing, until recently, the other countries have not so vocal about their stance. Nations such as Australia have warned of specific state-based threats in recent years but shied away from publicly naming China until now.
All five countries involved are part of an intelligence alliance known as the Five Eyes that shares classified information about China's foreign activities.