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China's Xi heads to Washington for likely tough talks with Obama

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Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Washington Thursday for summit talks with Barack Obama having made clear that few compromises are in store on hot-button issues like cyber theft and the South China Sea.

Xi spent two days in Seattle driving home the message that good economic and commercial relations are at the core of the bilateral relationship, and that the Obama administration should respect China's different views on political questions.

In his only major speech planned for the trip, Xi said Tuesday that the two need to better understand each other's "strategic intentions" and called for a " new model of major country relationship", one with more understanding and less suspicion.

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

But those were only a handful of lines in a speech and two days of talks centered around the importance of China to major US companies and a number of state economies like California.

On Wednesday 15 chief executives from the largest US companies -- Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) , Boeing (NYSE: BA - news) , General Motors (NYSE: GM - news) , Amazon and Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT - news) among them -- met in roundtable talks with Xi during which his message was that they could count on him to keep China's economy strong, to expand opportunities and to make sure they are treated fairly in their China business.

And, putting an...