Joe Biden

Remarks by the Vice President at a Meeting with Chinese Premier Wen in Beijing, China

August 19, 2011

PREMIER WEN: (As translated.) It's a great pleasure to meet you today, Mr. Vice President. I note that we were born in the same year. You have spent about 35 years in public service, and I've been working in the government compound of Beijing for more or less the same period of time. And I know that you are a big sports fan, so am I. (Laughter.)

I know that in the past weeks and months, you have put in a large amount of effort to assisting the President in securing an agreement with the Congress about raising the U.S. debt ceiling, cutting U.S. deficit and stabilizing the U.S. economy. You have played a vital role in this process.

In spite of the difficulties facing the U.S. economy at present, I have full confidence that the United States will overcome these difficulties and get its economy back on the track of healthy growth. The prosperity and stability of the United States is in the interest of the whole world.

In the past two to three days, you have engaged widely with the sectors in China, both public and private. You have been sending a very strong message that is the further growth of China-U.S. ties is not only important for our two countries, but also for the whole world.

It's particularly important that you sent a very clear message to the Chinese public that the United States will keep its word or -- 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. You have already had some meetings with other Chinese leaders. Today, I would like to focus our discussion on economy. Now, I would like to give the floor to you, Mr. Vice President.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, Premier, thank you very much for the hospitality. What a magnificent place. Now I know why even though we were born in the same year, you look so much younger than I. (Laughter.) You worked in a much more commodious environment than I do. (Laughter.)

PREMIER WEN: (As translated.) Well, I have -- this idea for our post-meeting schedule today, that is maybe we can take a brief walk in the surrounding areas of this whole compound. The compound was first built back -- 500 years back, and this current structure that we are having this meeting today has about 250 years of history.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I would be delighted to do that if you would just write a note to President Hu of why I'd be late. (Laughter.) As Vice President, I'm very accustomed to accommodating Presidents. (Laughter.) But I would love to see your place.

Let me say that we have something else in common besides our birth year, and that's the -- it's our absolute and mutual confidence in the U.S. economy. No one has ever won betting against the U.S. economy. And I'm anxious to talk to you about both our economies and how we can work together. But I point out U.S. treasuries, we're going to -- we're going to take care of very closely not merely because China owns 8 percent of them, but because the Americans own 85 percent.

It is -- we appreciate and welcome your concluding that the United States is such a safe haven because we appreciate your investment in U.S. treasuries. And very sincerely, I want to make clear that you have nothing to worry about in terms of their -- their viability.

I just had the opportunity to meet with the American business community, some of the leaders here investing in China, and then we had a joint meeting with leading Chinese business enterprises along with -- along with the Vice President whom I have found to be a --

(Pool escorted from room before conclusion of event.)

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by the Vice President at a Meeting with Chinese Premier Wen in Beijing, China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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