US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was engaged in a "multi-pronged effort to convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce" and respect international law after Washington indicted 10 Chinese nationals for stealing aviation secrets.
Speaking in a radio interview, Pompeo said: "Stealing another country's intellectual property, something China's been engaged in to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, is just something China has to figure out a way to stop."
Pompeo claimed that over the long term, China was probably the biggest national security challenge facing the United States and the Trump administration was pushing back.
"Where the semiconductor piece fits in is it's part of a mosaic of our strategic effort to push back against this continued Chinese effort," he said.
A US indictment unsealed on Tuesday said Chinese intelligence officers conspired with hackers and company insiders to break into computer systems of private firms to steal information on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners.
It was the third major corporate espionage-related case involving Chinese intelligence officers brought by the Justice Department since last month and comes amid a continuing trade war.
Last month, US Vice President Mike Pence intensified Washington's pressure campaign against Beijing by accusing China of "malign" efforts to undermine Trump ahead of next Tuesday's congressional elections and reckless military actions in the disputed South China Sea.
China has rejected the charges.