China and the United States are pledging deeper cooperation as the two countries’ vice presidents meet in Beijing.
With pomp and circumstance, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping welcomed his American counterpart, Joe Biden, to China.
The Chinese leader stressed that good relations between Beijing and Washington have global repercussions.
Xi says China and the United States share interests and responsibilities. He adds that it is what he describes as the “common expectation” of people around the world that the two countries cooperate more closely together.
Biden pledged Washington’s commitment to that cooperation. “The United States of America plans on and will continue to be engaged totally in the world and the events of the world,” Biden said.
The two leaders reviewed a military honor guard, then held wide-ranging discussions that likely included China’s currency exchange rate, Taiwan, human rights and other issues.
Chinese media have reported that officials in Beijing are likely to lobby against a proposed deal to sell advanced F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.
Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says he expects Beijing also will express its concern about the health of the American economy. China holds more than one trillion dollars of U.S. debt, making it Washington’s largest foreign creditor.
“They want to tell the United States that our investment in your country should be safe and you should be responsible and hopefully will not continue to undermine China’s economic interests,” Li said.
Li says he sees one of the main American goals is to build ties with Vice President Xi, who is expected to be elevated to Chinese President in 2013. “Because Xi Jinping will succeed [President] Hu Jintao in a year, and Xi also will come to the United States early next year. So, cultivating a good relationship, personal kind of understanding or even trust, is crucial,” he said.
Biden meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday.
Then, he and Xi travel together to the southwestern Chinese city, Chengdu, on Saturday, where they will tour areas devastated by a 2008 earthquake.