[QODLink]
Americas
Biden: US will never default on its debts
Vice-president tells Chinese students that US remains "best bet" for investment and will rein in high debt.
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2011 08:13
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.

'Clear message'

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.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.