17 Aug '11, 4am

US Vice President Biden en route to Beijing to face criticism over debt - and size up China's next leader, Xi Jinping:

WASHINGTON: Vice President Joe Biden arrives in China Wednesday under a cloud of criticism over the US debt, as he seeks to build a rapport with the man expected to be the rising Asian power's next leader. Biden, a veteran foreign policy hand during his 36-year Senate career, made a refueling stop Tuesday in Alaska ahead of his five days in China. He will later visit emerging US partner Mongolia and longstanding ally Japan. The number-two US leader's trip was months in the planning and came at the invitation of Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to become China's top leader by 2013 and remains virtually unknown in US policy circles. But while Biden will focus his trip on building a working relationship with Xi, his trip risks being overshadowed by China's scoldings of the United States, which this month came within hours of defaulting on its debt. China is the larg...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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