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Canada's Kevin Garratt (2nd R), his wife Julia Dawn Garatt (2nd L) and his children Peter and Hannah, pose for a family picture in Dandong, in this undated handout provided to Reuters by Kevin's son Simeon Garatt. REUTERS/Simeon Garatt/Handout via Reuters

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - China's ambassador to Canada on Friday played down a sudden deterioration of bilateral ties which have been strained by allegations of Chinese hacking and the detention of a Canadian couple.

Luo Zhaohui said in an article posted on the Globe and Mail's website on Friday that while it was "hard to avoid bumps and grumps between countries," the overall state of relations was good. He also cited the prospects for more trade.

"We should focus on practical co-operation and manage our differences broadly to keep the sustainable development of China-Canada relations on the right track," he wrote.

Late last month, for the first time ever, Canada accused Chinese hackers of being responsible for an attack on a government computer. A few days later China detained a Canadian couple on suspicious of spying.

The incidents threaten to overshadow a trip that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning to make to China in November. Ottawa sees China as a crucial trading partner.

The conciliatory tone of the article contrasted with the sharp language used by the Chinese foreign ministry to dismiss Canada's complaints about hacking.

Luo stressed what he said were the broad range of bilateral economic and political ties.

"In pursuit of common interests for our two peoples, there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome," he said.

It was inevitable, he added, that cases of illegal activities would occasionally surface. These should be handled in accordance with the law, he said.

"We should prevent those cases from ignoring or kidnapping our bilateral relations," he said. Canada's ruling right-leaning Conservative Party is split over policy towards China, which some members view with great suspicion.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Richard Chang)

Reuters