The United States is set to sanction Chinese companies connected to cyber theft of US intellectual property.
The White House has developed a set of economic sanctions on Chinese companies which could possibly be unveiled before the Chinese President's first official visit to the US later this month, according to a report in the Financial Times which cites three anonymous officials.
Relations between the two superpowers have soured over the US' suspicions that some damaging cyber attacks - which have included the theft of trade secrets - have come from China.
However, the quoted sources suggest there has been internal debate in the White House about whether or not to release the sanctions before Xi's visit which includes a state dinner with President Barack Obama.
Earlier in the week Chinese embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan responded to speculation of cyber theft:
The Chinese government staunchly upholds cyber security, firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks in accordance with law.