Xi: U.S, China Conflict Would Be ‘Disastrous’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Xi: U.S, China Conflict Would Be ‘Disastrous’

Posted: Sep 24, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is calling for better relations with Washington to help prevent what he said would be disastrous conflict between the two nations, as he begins his week-long tour of the United States.

The comments came Tuesday during a much-anticipated policy speech to business leaders in Seattle, the first stop on a trip that will culminate later this week with the Chinese leader’s first state visit to the White House.

“If China and the U.S. cooperate well, they can become a bedrock of global stability,” Xi said. “Should they enter into conflict or confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large.”

The Chinese leader also addressed a wide range of other issues that have upset U.S.-China ties, including cyber hacking, which President Barack Obama has said will figure prominently in their one-on-one talks.

“The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial theft or encourage or support such attempts by anyone,” Xi said, repeating Beijing’s assertion that it is the victim, not perpetrator, of such attacks.

China is willing to set up a “high-level joint dialogue mechanism with the U.S. on fighting cybercrime,” Xi said, in an apparent attempt to reassure business leaders alarmed about the growing threat of cyberattacks.

He also said China will not lower the value of its currency to boost exports. That is a longstanding worry among many U.S. officials, made worse by Beijing’s surprise recent devaluation of the yuan.

Xi and Obama are expected to have intense talks about cyber espionage and economic issues during the Chinese leader’s state visit to the White House on Friday.

The U.S. will press China to avoid “quick fixes” for its economy such as devaluing the yuan to help its exporters, White House chief economist Jason Furman said Tuesday.

Furman said China’s recent loosening of controls on the yuan “caused turmoil” in global financial markets and that U.S. officials also would raise the issue of China’s volatile stock market.

Ahead of Xi’s visit, top U.S. officials have been more vocal about condemning Beijing-sponsored cyber espionage, calling it a major stumbling block to U.S.-China relations.

“We are increasingly hearing concerns about activities that the Chinese been engaged in,” said U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. “So we want to make it very clear this puts at risk China’s ability to continue on its growth if businesses don’t have confidence they won’t be subjected to cybertheft.”

U.S. officials have suggested imposing sanctions on Beijing, and the president said Washington is preparing “a number of measures” aimed at showing Beijing that “this is not just a matter of us being mildly upset.”