ABC News’ Devin Dwyer ( @devindwyer) reports: Vice President Joe Biden offered bold reassurances on the strength of the economy and safety of U.S. Treasuries in his first direct meetings with Chinese leaders since the debt ceiling crisis and U.S. credit downgrade.
Biden said China, the U.S.’s largest foreign creditor, has “nothing to worry about” with respect to its holdings of U.S. debt, despite recent concerns aired by some Chinese that American politicians are “dangerously irresponsible” and “addicted to debt.”
“No one has ever won betting against the U.S. economy,” Biden said during a joint statement with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. “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,” Biden said.
“Very sincerely, I want to make clear that you have nothing to worry about in terms of their -- their viability,” he added.
Wen directly acknowledged the U.S. debt crisis and recent brinkmanship over an effort to raise the debt ceiling, but expressed confidence the U.S. would overcome the “difficulties.”
“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,” Wen said. “It will preserve the safety, liquidity and value of U.S. treasuries.”
Earlier this month China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency issued a scathing response to the S&P credit downgrade, chastising the U.S. and rattling investors’ nerves.
“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” the wire service said. “China…has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets.”
Biden is visiting China as part of a week-long mission to East Asia. He heads next to Mongolia and Japan.