Vice President Joe Biden visits China

Vice President Joe Biden’s four-day visit to China, constituting a significant portion of his nine-day diplomatic tour in Asia, ended this past Sunday. The purpose of the visit was to build ties with Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping, who is expected to be China’s next leader, and to further emphasize the long-term partnership between the United States and China.

Biden’s trip to China, which comes almost two years after President Obama’s, highlights the increasingly important role China plays as a long-term strategic partner to the United States.

Biden visited both Sichuan University and a local school rebuilt after the Sichuan earthquake in the city of Dujiangyan on the final day of his tour, where his speeches touched on mutual cooperation between the two countries and how innovation and freedom of ideas have made the United States the successful country it is today.

Biden also briefly touched upon the sensitive topic of China’s human rights record, calling it a hindrance to economic growth.

Biden previously held two days of formal talks with Xi in Beijing, where he assured the future leader the U.S. economy was still sound in light of its recent budget issues, and the Chinese need not worry about the safety of their investments due to the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating.

In addition to the part China plays as a key diplomatic and economic partner, the country is also a top source of exchange and international students in the United States, with more than 18 percent of U.S. international students hailing from China. Reflecting this trend, China is one of the top sources of international students at USC.

The university has also recognized the vital role China will play going forward, establishing the USC US-China Institute in 2007. The purpose of the Institute is to enhance understanding of the US-China relationship through research, graduate and undergraduate training, events and professional development initiatives.