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Biden in China

Biden in China

 

Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., is in China on an official five-day visit to Beijing and the western city of Chengdu that will likely be focused on the downgrading of the US’s debt and its effect on the world economy. He is visiting at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, who is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Chinese Community Party in 2012 and to become president in March 2013. The visit comes at a delicate time in US-China relations: With $1.17 trillion in US Treasury securities, China is the largest holder of US foreign debt and recently issued its displeasure at the US losing its AAA credit rating with scoldings about the US’s “addiction to debt.”

As China’s Xinhua news service reports, Biden first visited China 32 years ago, as a member of the first US delegation after relations were normalized between the two countries after years of estrangement. As a young member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden said “A rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China but for America and the world writ large.” According to Xinhua, while addressing the opening session of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue in May, Biden said he still maintains those words.

Despite China’s anxiety about US debt, the New York Times reports that, on Monday, the United States Treasury Department released statistics showing that China had increased its holding of US securities in June by $5.7 billion, to a total of $1.17 trillion.

The Chinese media has emphasized that economic issues would be at the forefront of Biden’s visit; Lael Brainard, under secretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department, says that Biden will be trying to promote US economic interests in China. In just the past year, US exports to China have grown more than those of any other country in the world, to over $1 billion. Biden will also press China to appreciate its currency, the renminbi, which economists say is undervalued, allowing Chinese exports to have a huge advantage in the global marketplace.

Also on the agenda will be the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, which China wields influence over, and human rights issues including urging China to renews its dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama. The sensitive issue of US arms sales to Taiwan will probably not be addressed: The US has until October 1 to decide to sell 66 new generation F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Chinese officials are (not surprisingly) against the sale.

The first thing the Vice President did after being greeted by Chinese officials after his plane landed was to attend a basketball game between the Georgetown Hoyas and a team from Shanxi Province at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium. Biden told reporters that many with connections to the Washington, DC-university had requested he attend.

After five days in China, Biden will also visit Japan and Mongolia, says the BBC.

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Photo taken during Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the US in January of 2011 by USDA Gov

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7 comments

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10:53AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

Scary idea -- Biden in China-----But Biden ANYWHERE is scary!

6:04PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

....while China hacks your websites and steals your technology. Ask China's neighbors (except North Korea), ask them what they think of China. Nobody in the region trusts China! America is making China stronger while America is going down economically. Better learn Chinese guys...

9:39AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

Biden wants the Chinese to appreciate their currency? He should be careful the renminbi doesnt replace the US dollar as the reserve currency sometime in the future.

8:06AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

Scary thought. Which foot will he stick in his mouth this time? Get ready to send in the clean up crew.

11:37AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

He is becoming a permanent resident, right?

11:14AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

How embarrassing. I do hope the Chinese realize most Americans aren't that dumb.

10:40AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

It is imperative that the western world works along side of China.

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