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U.S., Chinese vice presidents talk economic cooperation

By the CNN Wire Staff
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping plays host to Vice President Joe Biden on Friday in Beijing.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping plays host to Vice President Joe Biden on Friday in Beijing.
  • Biden is on a visit to China to meet with leaders
  • He and Xi Jinping talked about areas of cooperation
  • Biden says the United States is confident of a recovery

Beijing (CNN) -- In China on an official visit, Vice President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, praised economic and business ties between the two countries, but said that obstacles remain.

In remarks on Friday, the Chinese vice president raised the issue of confidence in the United States and global economies, saying that confidence is more precious than gold.

In light of a debt crisis and a downgrade by Standard and Poor's, some have questioned the ability of American lawmakers to create policies to reign in debt. This is coupled with a European debt crisis that is fluctuating global markets.

"The international financial markets, drastic fluctuations and uncertainties and destabilizing factors confronting world economic recovery have intensified, posing new challenges to economic growth and the businesses of the two countries," Xi said.

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Biden responded that he had unequivocal confidence in the recovery and growth of the American economy.

"No one has ever made money betting against America," he said.

The topic of confidence came up again in a later meeting between Biden and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

"It's particularly important," Wen said, "that you've sent a very clear message to the Chinese public, that the United States will keep its word and its obligations with regard to its government debt. It will preserve the safety, liquidity and value of U.S. treasuries. I'm sure that will give a boost to the investors' confidence in the U.S. economy."

China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt with around $900 billion in U.S. bonds, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The United States and China have to be "mutually inclusive," Xi said, echoing concerns about access.

"I believe as long as we treat each other as equals and embrace mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, we will have even better growth in our business cooperation," he said.

He added that China will "continue to free its mind and stay committed to reform and opening up."

Biden said that enhanced cooperation with China is good for the United States, and that America has its own concerns about access to China.

"Only friends and equals can serve each other by being straightforward and honest with them about the perceived injustices or the perceived tilting of a playing field; and you have legitimate concerns about access to America. And I would argue we have legitimate concerns in reverse," Biden said.

Biden arrived in China Wednesday at the invitation of Xi as part of planned reciprocal visits by the two nations' vice presidents.

Political analysts say Biden's trip is an opportunity for American officials to know Xi, who is considered a likely successor to President Hu Jintao.