Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington state Tuesday for his first visit to the United States. He is expected to engage in talks on how U.S. and China can collaborate on nuclear energy, smarter electricity use and other clean technologies.
Xi's speech in Seattle later Tuesday will be his only major policy address while in the United States.
In written comments published early Tuesday in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, Xi said his government takes cybersecurity seriously, and that cyber criminals, including hackers stealing commercial secrets, should be punished according to the law and international conventions.
China has also been a victim of hacking and denied any governmental role in stealing business data.
"The Chinese government does not engage in theft of commercial secrets in any form, nor does it encourage or support Chinese companies to engage in such practices in any way," Xi wrote.
Xi and President Barack Obama are expected to have intense talks about cyber espionage during the Chinese leader's time at the White House on Thursday and Friday. Economic issues are also expected to be high on the agenda.
The United States will press China to avoid "quick fixes" for its economy, such as devaluing its currency to boost exports, 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 would also raise the issue of China's volatile stock market.
On Monday, Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, warned China that Beijing-sponsored cyber espionage was a major stumbling block to U.S.-China relations and said such spying must stop.
Xi told the Journal he was ready to boost cooperation with the U.S. on the issue of cyber crime. He also discussed the disputed islands in the South China Sea known in China as Nansha and elsewhere as the Spratly Islands.
Xi asserted that the chain, also claimed in part by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, has been Chinese territory since ancient times. China has been carrying out land reclamation projects, as well as building civilian and military facilities.
"China's development and maintenance of facilities on some of our garrisoned islands and reefs in the Nansha islands does not impact on or target any other country, and it should not be overinterpreted," Xi said.
The U.S. has demanded that China stop those activities, calling them out of step with international norms and a risk for sparking conflict in the region.