|Biden, pictured with his granddaughter, urged China to buy more American-made goods and services [AFP]
The United States will never default on its debts, Joe Biden, the vice-president, said on the final day of an official visit to China dominated by concerns over Chinese exposure to the ailing US economy.
Speaking to students on Sunday during a visit to a university in the southwestern city of Chegdu, Sichuan province, Biden said the US remained the "single best bet" for investment.
"The United States has never defaulted and never will," Biden said.
His comments appeared aimed at boosting Chinese confidence in the US economy, which has been rattled by a historic credit rating downgrade from AAA to AA by rating agency Standard & Poor's.
Biden said the US could reverse its high debt and low growth and urged China to play a part by buying more American-made goods and services.
"I also know that some of you are sceptical about America's future prospects. With that in view, I would like to suggest that I respectfully disagree with that view and will allay your concerns," he said.
He told the audience to remember that "America today is by far the largest economy, with a GDP of almost $15 trillion, about two and a half times as large as China's".
Beijing and Washington have signed deals worth nearly $1bn during Biden's trip, according to a US official quoted anonymously by the AFP news agency.
Biden's visit was also aimed at building ties with Xi Jinping, his counterpart, who is slated to become China's top leader next year but remains virtually unknown in US policy circles.
In Chengdu, Biden was to meet Xi again and witness reconstruction efforts following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which left over 87,000 people dead or missing.
On Friday, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, expressed confidence in the US economy and said Biden had "sent a very clear message to the Chinese public that the United States will keep its word and obligations with regard to its government debt".
Biden used his speech to renew US calls for Beijing to do more to rein in North Korea and Iran, whose nuclear ambitions have alarmed the West.
Both China and the US are part of the on-and-off six-party disarmament negotiations on North Korea. Other countries include Japan, South Korea and Russia.
Biden will visit Mongolia on Monday before he jets off to Japan.