LOS ANGELES - Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton hailed China's President Xi Jinping on Wednesday as "pragmatic," saying he was more of a politician than his predecessor.

In an address to a think tank in Los Angeles she said Xi, who took office last November, should ensure that there is "no daylight" between the ruling Communist Party and China's vast military.

"The new president appears to be a pragmatic leader," she told the Pacific Council of International Policy, which focuses on issues with particular impact on the US West Coast, at a dinner event in Beverly Hills.

"He's also much more of a politician than his predecessor Hu Jintao. I watched him walk a room, I watched him interact, not only with Chinese colleagues and American leaders but unions from all over the world."

Clinton, who stepped down in January, added that Xi "would do his country and the world a great work by gaining control and being sure that there is no daylight between the Communist Party leadership and the military leadership."

The former top US diplomat, wife of former president Bill Clinton, is seen as a potential White House candidate in 2016 when Barack Obama leaves office, although she has given no indication she wants to run.