Vice President Biden told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that “the economic stability of the world” depends on the U.S.-Chinese relationship, Reuters reported Thursday.
Biden, speaking on the first day of an official visit to China, said the two countries must focus on strengthening their economic ties. The trip comes in the midst of Chinese concerns over the U.S.’s financial condition — the country is the largest single holder of U.S. government debt.
“I would suggest that there is no more important relationship that we need to establish on the part of the United States than a close relationship with China,” Biden said. “I am absolutely confident that the economic stability of the world rests in no small part on cooperation between the United States and China.”
Vice President Xi told Biden that economic concerns are now the cornerstone of the U.S.-Chinese relationship.
“Recently, turmoil in international financial markets has deepened and global economic growth faces severe challenges,” Xi said, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “As the world’s two biggest economies, China and the United States have a responsibility to strengthen macro-economic policy coordination and together boost market confidence.”
The visit, which Biden said is “about establishing relationships and trust,” will not be about making deals. “I also come with a strong message that the United States of America is and will continue to be engaged totally in the world,” Biden told Xi at the meeting.
The five-day trip will center on economic issues, but both parties plan to raise diplomatic concerns as well. Xi said the possible sale of U.S. fighter jets to Taiwan could be a major source of conflict between the two countries, and also warned the U.S. about Tibet.
“Taiwan and Tibet are issues concern China’s core interests, and they concern the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese people,” Xi said. “They must be carefully and appropriately handled to avoid interference in and damage to Sino-U.S. relations.”
Xi, who will likely become Chinese Communist Party chair in 2012 and is expected to formally succeed Hu Jintao as president in early 2013, invited Biden on this trip and is set to visit Washington later this year.
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