Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the United States and China to better understand each other’s “strategic intentions”, asking for “a new model of major country relationship” with more understanding and less suspicion, AFP reports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and California Governor Jerry Brown (R) at a function

In the keynote speech in the Pacific coast commercial hub of Seattle on the first day of a state visit, Xi insisted that Beijing does not seek conflict despite stressed relations in a number of areas.

“We want to see more understanding and trust and less estrangement and suspicion,” he said.

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

Ahead of talks with the Obama administration later this week on hot-button issues like China’s expanding presence in the South China Sea, cyber theft and human rights, Xi sought to assuage an audience of mostly businessmen and US state officials that China was a positive force in the global economy and was pushing forward with reforms based on rule of law and market principles.

He promised to treat US investors in China fairly and to fight against commercial cyber theft, a growing complaint against China by American businesses.

“We respect the international business norms of non-discrimination,” he told an audience that included the chief executives of some of the largest US businesses, including Boeing, Amazon, DuPont, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom have substantial business in China.

“We will address legitimate concerns of foreign investors in a timely fashion,” he said.

On the hacking issue, he said China itself is a victim and was ready to set up a “high-level” mechanism with the United States to discuss the problem.

“The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial theft or encourage or support such attempts by anyone.”

At the same time, he suggested that US threats to sanction Chinese officials over the alleged hacking were out of line, saying cyber theft was a crime that had to be prosecuted “in accordance with law.”

He also stressed that China’s economic downturn was temporary and that the government was on top of recent market turmoil.

‘No house of cards’

Xi said the Chinese people supported his anti-corruption campaign, which has touched every level of the government, Communist Party and military. The crackdown would continue and was not a product of factional struggles, he said.

“There is no power struggle in this. There is no House of Cards,” Xi said, drawing laughter from the audience with his reference to the popular US political drama.

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