SEATTLE, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country is willing to cooperate with the United States on the controversial act of cybercrime, while denying China has ever participated in hacking.
Xi made the comments on Tuesday during his two day visit to Seattle ahead of his first state visit to Washington D.C. on Thursday. He will later travel to New York City to attend United Nations events.
"Commercial cybertheft and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with the law and relevant international treaties," Xi said at a dinner banquet in downtown Seattle attended by top U.S. business executives, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who represented the administration of President Barack Obama.
"The Chinese government will not ... engage in commercial theft or encourage or support such attempts by anyone," Jinping added.
China has often been accused of carrying out contentious hacks on U.S. targets, including the Office of Personnel Management data breach, in which personal information of up to 21.5 million current, former and prospective federal government employees was compromised.
Xi said China is willing to enter "a high-level joint dialogue mechanism with the United States to fight cybercrimes."