A leading Chinese newspaper today urged US Vice President Joe Biden to address Beijing’s concerns about the debt crisis when he visits this week.
Biden will fly into Beijing late today for a five-day visit at the invitation of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the country’s top leader by 2013.
The trip risks being overshadowed by a storm of Chinese criticism of the United States, which earlier this month came close to defaulting on its debt.
China is the biggest foreign holder of US debt with Treasury holdings of around $1.2 trillion, and has repeatedly expressed concerns about the safety of its investments, particularly in the light of a recent unprecedented US downgrade.
“We expect the visit by the US vice president will help mutual communication and coordination and promote the vital interests of both sides,” said the piece, written by Shen Dingli, director of a US research centre at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
China’s state-run media has run a series of scathing commentaries over the US debt crisis, accusing Washington of acting irresponsibly and demanding that the country live within its means.
Relations between the two countries have also been strained by other issues including Tibet and Taiwan, which split from China in 1949 but which Beijing still regards as a renegade province.
Shen’s column warned Washington that arms sales to Taiwan were “harming the building of mutual trust”.
It also accused the United States of “muscle-flexing” in the South China Sea, in an apparent reference to joint military drills with Vietnam that were conducted during a territorial spat between Hanoi and Beijing.