Biden tells China Sino-US friendship vital to global economy (VIDEO)

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden met his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Thursday and told his hosts Sino-U.S. cooperation is essential to the health of the global economy.

"I am absolutely confident that the economic stability of the world rests in no small part on cooperation between the United States and China," Biden told Xi Jinping, according to AFP.

"It affects every country from your neighbor to the north, to Argentina in the southern tip of South America. It is the key, in my view, to global economic stability."

Xi is expected to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, and U.S. officials have said one of Biden's missions in Beijing is to "get to know China's future leadership."

Biden arrived in China on Wednesday, leaving Washington embroiled in bitter political infighting after Standard & Poor's ratings agency downgraded the U.S. debt rating.

China owns vastly more U.S. debt than any other country, and the state-run media have been vociferous in their criticism of Washington over the debt crisis, calling it a "ticking time bomb."

U.S. calls for China to level the economic playing field by hiking the value of its currency, as well as U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, are expected to be other topics of discussion during Biden's trip to Beijing.

Xi told Biden that economic concerns were the number one priority, the BBC reported.

"Recently, turmoil in international financial markets has deepened and global economic growth faces severe challenges," Xi told his American guest, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

"As the world's two biggest economies, China and the United States have a responsibility to strengthen macro-economic policy co-ordination and together boost market confidence."

Before Biden could finish his introductory remarks, however, security staff forcefully pushed foreign reporters out of the room, The New York Times reported.

After the talks, Biden took his granddaughter Naomi and new U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to a typical Beijing restaurant for lunch.

One customer shouted "Beijing welcomes you!" in Mandarin Chinese and others shook Biden's hand in greeting.

Biden joked with the customers but seemed less amused by the house specialty - pig intestines in soup.

The vice-president ordered noodles and pork buns instead.