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Chinese leader wraps up U.S. visit

LOS ANGELES — Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping began the last day of his U.S. visit Friday by urging closer ties and arguing that Americans benefit from their trade relationship with China.

"A prosperous and stable China will not be a threat to any country," Xi said. "It will only be a positive force for world peace and development."

Xi, who is expected to become president of the world's most populous nation next year, started the last of his four days in the United States at a downtown Los Angeles trade conference hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. His American counterpart, Vice President Joe Biden, join him later.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa both lauded the U.S.-China relationship.

"We've got a great future together," said Brown, who announced plans to open a new trade and investment office in China.

China is a major trade partner with Los Angeles, which has greatly benefited from its Pacific Rim position and has courted Chinese businesses and their potential jobs.

A day earlier, Xi toured the Port of Los Angeles, the nation's busiest port complex. Nearly 60 percent of the imports moving through the port come from China.

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson also encouraged more Chinese investment, commenting that "America is truly open for business."

However, he called for balancing the economic and trade relationship, which has been a lightning rod for critics of China. Trade between the two countries increased exponentially last year — but the U.S. trade deficit also grew by 30 percent, Bryson said. "We have to work harder to achieve balanced trade growth," Bryson said.

Any view that the United States is the loser in its trade relationship with China "does not square with facts," Xi said.

Chinese imports have helped Americans improve their standard of living and created more than 3 million new jobs in the U.S. from 2001 to 2010, Xi said.