US Vice President Joe Biden said on today that the world’s biggest economy would never default on its debts, during a visit aimed at boosting Chinese confidence in America’s beleaguered finances.
In a speech to hundreds of university students in the vast southwestern city of Chengdu, Biden also urged China to “cherish” a free flow of information between the government and public, as the communist state quells dissent anew.
Biden said at Sichuan University that the United States remained the “single best bet” for investment — despite the historic downgrade this month of the country’s top-notch credit rating by Standard & Poor’s.
“The United States has never defaulted and never will,” he said, on the final day of his first official visit to China as vice president.
China is the largest foreign holder of US debt, and Biden has used the five-day trip to assure its leaders that their massive investment remains safe after Washington narrowly avoided a catastrophic default earlier this month.
Chinese leaders, including Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping, have been publicly conciliatory with Biden — in sharp contrast to state media in recent weeks, which has accused US leaders of acting recklessly.
During his speech, Biden also called the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran “a direct and serious threat to the security of the United States and our allies”.
He urged China to “send a clear message” to Iranian leaders that they “must live up to their international obligation”, and also expressed concern about North Korea.
Chengdu, a huge conurbation of 14 million people, is the capital of Sichuan province, where nearly 200 of the Fortune 500 largest firms in the world have invested.
China and the United States have signed deals worth nearly US$1 billion during Biden’s trip, according to a US official who requested anonymity.
Following his stopover in Chengdu, Biden will visit Mongolia and close US ally Japan.