- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BEIJING (AP) - China tried Wednesday to cool a dispute with Washington over cyber spying, reminding the United States of its need for Chinese help over North Korea and appealing to it not to hurt cooperation in anti-terrorism and other areas.

The effort at damage control, despite the outraged tone of Beijing’s rejection of spying allegations last week, reflects the importance of commercial and political ties between the two biggest economies. It comes at a time when Beijing is embroiled in a territorial dispute with Vietnam and is trying to persuade other governments to avoid getting involved.

“The row between China and the United States over cyber security should not become a rift to undermine the two sides’ cooperation on other issues of common concern,” the government’s Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary.

Washington announced criminal charges last week against five Chinese military officers accused of breaking into computers of major U.S. companies to steal commercial secrets.

The Chinese government denied the accusation. Wednesday’s commentary called on Washington to “refrain from taking further wrongful steps.”

The appeal came just a day after a Cabinet agency issued a sharply worded report that said pervasive U.S. cyber spying against Chinese targets “flagrantly breached” international law. It called on Washington to stop.

Xinhua noted that Washington needs Beijing’s support in trying to resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula and to combat climate change, while China is an important market for U.S. companies.

“The United States is more than an important trading partner, but also a staunch fighter against terrorism,” Xinhua said. “The U.S. role in eliminating terrorism globally has become especially important for China now, when it has been exposed to dangerous terrorist attacks in the past few months.”

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