Bye Bye Biden

Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up his five-day visit to China on Monday, but not before first saying the United States would never default on its debt, and gently prodding China on its human rights record.

Biden, on his first official visit as vice president, spent most of his trip getting to know China’s presumed next leader, Vice Premier Xi Jinping. Xi is expected to take the mantle of head of the Communist Party of China next year and ascend to the presidency in 2013 to replace Hu Jintao.

Biden told both Xi and Premier Wen Jiabao that China’s massive investment in America’s debt is safe and the US won’t default. The US debt ceiling fight was closely watched in China, since with more than $1 trillion invested, China holds more of the United States’ debt than any other single foreign investor.

Besides talk economics and reassuring China on the debt, Biden said a more open China would show its strength – a reference to the country’s lockdown on critical voices.

He departs Beijing for Mongolia, then Japan.