The United States says it will lodge a formal complaint with Chinese officials next week to express concern about cyber attacks on Google's e-mail service in China.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that Washington will also demand an explanation about how the hacking happened and what the Chinese government plans to do about it.
Google announced earlier this week it will no longer censor its content after uncovering an attack on the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The company said the decision may lead Google to completely shut down its offices in China.
In Beijing, U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman said the issue of Internet freedom is related to free speech, which is a core American value.
Ambassador Huntsman said Washington considers Google's negotiations with China a business matter and will therefore not get involved in their negotiations.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to address Internet freedom in a speech next week in Washington.
A spokesman for China's Commerce Ministry reiterated China's position that the country's laws prohibit cyber attacks. But he said foreign companies must comply with all local laws, regulations and customs, including government controls over the Internet.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday the Obama administration supports Google's decision not to censor its content.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.