SEATTLE — Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for better relations with the United States, warning that conflict between the two could have a disastrous outcome.
In a keynote speech on the first day of his state visit to the United States on Tuesday, he stressed a need for more co-operation and understanding of each other's "strategic intentions" as central to a "major country relationship".
"We want to see more understanding and trust and less estrangement and suspicion," he told an audience of mostly businessmen.
"Should they enter into conflict and confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large," he said.
Xi rejected allegations that Beijing supports commercial cyber theft, labelling the practice a crime that should be punished under law.
"China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. It is also a victim of hacking," he said.
"The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial theft or encourage or support such attempts by anyone."
Xi, under pressure from Washington to take action against alleged Chinese groups stealing secrets and intellectual property of US companies by hacking their computer networks, said China is ready to set up a "high-level joint dialogue mechanism" with the US on fighting cyber crime.
But, in an apparent response to US threats to apply punitive sanctions on Chinese officials over commercial hacking activities, Xi said cyber theft is a crime that needs to be prosecuted in courts.
"Those commercial cyber thefts and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with law and relevant international treaties," he said. — AFP