The White House has contacted Hong Kong for the extradition of US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, who leaked details of secret surveillance.
The Obama administration confirmed to the BBC that it had asked for his transfer under an agreement between the US and the Chinese territory.
A senior administration official was quoted as saying failure to act soon could "complicate relations".
In May, Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong after leaking details of the operation.
The US justice department has filed criminal charges against the former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst, including espionage and theft of government property.