China 'staunch defender' of cyber security

  • 23/09/2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Reuters)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for better relations with the United States, warning that conflict between the two superpowers could have a disastrous outcome.

In a keynote speech on the first day of his state visit to the United States, he stressed the need for more cooperation and understanding of each other's "strategic intentions".

"We want to see more understanding and trust and less estrangement and suspicion," he told an audience of mostly businessmen in Seattle.

"Should they enter into conflict and confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large."

President Xi also 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 cyber security. 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 - 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, 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.