Biden will visit China to discuss range of issues

Updated: 2011-08-09 07:46

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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Biden will visit China to discuss range of issues

BEIJING - US Vice-President Joe Biden will visit China later this month and is expected to exchange views with leaders on issues such as the South China Sea disputes, US arms sales to Taiwan and US debt.

Biden's visit will take place from Aug 17 to 22 at the invitation of Vice-President Xi Jinping, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a news release on Monday.

While in China, Biden will meet with Xi and other Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, to consult on a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues, according to a White House news release.

Biden will also visit the southwestern city of Chengdu, according to the White House. Many US high-tech companies invest in Chengdu, including Intel, Chevron and Dell, and the city hosts the headquarters of The Peace Corps.

After leaving China, Biden will travel to Mongolia and Japan.

Biden's visit, the first of the planned reciprocal visits between the vice-presidents announced during Hu's state visit to Washington earlier this year, will bring the working relationship between Chinese and US high-level officials closer and further stabilize the Sino-US relationship, analysts said.

There had been doubt over whether Biden would make the trip after US President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama and the issue of US arms sales to Taiwan was put on table again recently, said Sun Zhe, director of Center for US-China Relations of Tsinghua University.

"Now the confirmation of the visit shows the bilateral relationship is basically stable, but what's more of a concern is where the Sino-US relationship is heading after he returns to the US," Sun told China Daily.

Sun said the two sides will likely exchange views on the South China Sea dispute, US arms sales to Taiwan, China's military growth, US debt and the situations in Northeast Asia and the Middle East.

"Chinese leaders will reiterate our stance on US arms sales to Taiwan and urge the US to stop the arms sales," said Sun, noting that what's crucial is "what concrete measures will the US take when Biden returns from the trip".

Earlier reports said an amendment to a budget bill urging the US to sell F-16 fighters and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan was approved by a voice vote in the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Obama would make a decision about the sale by Oct 1. US arms sales to Taiwan have long been a cause of turbulence in Sino-US relations.

Biden will arrive in China at a sensitive time, as China and US issued the Aug 17 Joint Communique in 1982, in which the US declared that it will not seek long-term arms sales to Taiwan and that they will be reduced over time, said Fu Mengzi, a researcher on Sino-US relations at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Another important topic will be how to coordinate on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Fu said.

China Daily

(China Daily 08/09/2011 page11)