Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping met his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday for talks that were expected to focus on global financial problems.
State media said Mr. Xi, who is set to succeed President Hu Jintao as Communist Party leader next year and head of state in early 2013, hosted an official welcome ceremony for Biden before their talks at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
In the run-up to the talks, China had sought more reassurance on U.S. measures to tackle its debt crisis.
The recent U.S. package of measures to reduce its fiscal deficit had “failed to resolve the runaway debt problem of the world’s largest economy, leaving a ticking time bomb,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on Wednesday.
The commentary said Mr. Biden was expected to “assure Chinese leaders of Washington’s capacity, will, and commitment to tackle its fiscal and economic challenges.” U.S. officials said Mr. Biden planned to outline his country’s deficit reduction plan to China, the United States’ biggest creditor.
He was also expected to discuss U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and press China to let its currency appreciate.
U.S. politicians want China to strengthen the currency and remove barriers to imports to help reduce the US trade deficit with China, which hit 273 billion dollars in 2010.
In an interview with the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, before he left Washington, Biden said the United States aimed to put relations with China “on a steady and sustainable track for the coming decades.” Mr. Biden was also scheduled to meet Mr. Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on his first official visit to China as vice president.
His itinerary included a two-day trip to the south-western city of Chengdu to speak at a university on U.S.-China relations and to visit an area hit by the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Following his visit to China, Mr. Biden was scheduled to travel to Mongolia and Japan.