August 18, 2011 07:58
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in China Wednesday evening for a five-day visit aimed at delivering assurances about the U.S. economy and building ties to the next generation of Chinese leaders.
China has expressed concern about the recent deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling saying it did not do enough to trim the U.S. deficit. China holds more than US$1 trillion of U.S. debt, making it Washington's largest foreign creditor.
During the trip, Biden will reassure Chinese leaders that its investments are safe despite the recent credit downgrading of the U.S. by one rating organization.
The Obama administration says China has its own economic problems, and has repeatedly called for China to let its currency rise against the dollar.
Other topics to be discussed include China's cooperation in South Asia, North Korea and Iran. Chinese officials are also likely to express concern about a pending decision on whether the U.S. will sell advanced F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. U.S. officials say Biden has no plans to discuss the issue.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will host an official welcome ceremony for Biden on Thursday.
Xi is widely expected to become head of the Communist Party next year and succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013. The two will travel to the southwestern city of Chengdu on Saturday, where Biden will deliver a major policy speech.
Their meeting is the first in a series of visits announced during Hu's visit to Washington in January. Biden is expected to meet Hu and other top Chinese officials during the trip.
Biden is also under pressure from human rights groups to press Chinese leaders on their recent crackdown on dissenters.
From China, Biden will travel to Mongolia to show support for the country's democratic system and highlight growing economic ties. He will also stop in Tokyo for meetings with Japanese leaders, followed by a visit to the earthquake-devastated city of Sendai as part of his eight-day Asian tour.
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