U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden arrived in Beijing, China Wednesday, beginning a six-day official visit.
Biden was invited by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and he will meet with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and a number of other officials. Although Biden will take a tour of the Sichuan Province, the trip is one for business and not pleasure.
"One of the primary purposes of the trip is to get to know China's future leadership, to build a relationship with Vice President Xi, and to discuss with him and other Chinese leaders the full breadth of issues in the U.S.-China relationship," Tony Blinken, National Security Adviser to the Vice President told CNN. "Simply put, we're investing in the future of the U.S.-China relationship."
Biden is also expected to discuss a number of issues, and many commentators are saying that Biden will need to ease China's worries over the downgrading of the United States' credit rating. China holds $1.16-trillion in U.S. debt, and the government wants to be assured that their holdings are secure.
"The Obama Administration is deeply committed to maintaining the fundamentals of the U.S. economy that ensure the safety, liquidity, and value of U.S. Treasury obligations for all of its investors," Biden told Chinese magazine in advance of his trip.
"This is first and foremost a firm commitment to U.S. citizens, who hold the large majority of all outstanding Treasury obligations and, also, to our foreign investors, including China."
The Vice President and Chinese officials are also likely to discuss the South China Sea, after disputes sprung up earlier this summer between China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
China has also been intently watching relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
On Aug. 1, 181 members of congress petitioned President Obama to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, which "would support thousands of American jobs - especially well-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector." The White House has said that Biden will not discuss the issue, but according to China Daily, "it would be naive to believe this. The issue will be raised."
After his China trip is complete, the Vice President will travel to Mongolia and then Japan.