US, Chinese vice presidents pledge closer cooperation
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden pledged closer cooperation between their nations on Thursday as they held talks that were expected to focus on global financial problems, DPA reported.
"Under the new circumstances, China and the United States share even broader common interests and co-shoulder more common responsibilities," state media quoted Xi as saying before closed talks with Biden.
"Enhancing the China-US relationship fits not only the interests of the two nations, but also that of the world," said Xi, who is set to succeed President Hu Jintao as Communist Party leader next year and head of state in early 2013.
The official Xinhua news agency quoted Biden as saying he brought "a strong message that the United States of America is planning on and will continue to be engaged totally in the world."
"Maybe even a stronger message is our commitment to establish a close and serious relationship with the People's Republic of China," Biden was quoted as saying.
Xi earlier hosted an official welcome ceremony for Biden at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
In the run-up to the talks, China had sought more reassurance on US measures to tackle its debt crisis.
The recent US 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 Biden was expected to "assure Chinese leaders of Washington's capacity, will, and commitment to tackle its fiscal and economic challenges."
US officials said Biden planned to outline his country's deficit reduction plan to China, the United States' biggest creditor.
He was also expected to discuss US arms sales to Taiwan and press China to let its currency appreciate.
US 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.
Biden was also scheduled to meet 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 US-China relations and to visit an area hit by the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Following his visit to China, Biden was scheduled to travel to Mongolia and Japan.