Aug. 21 - China State TV airs footage of U.S. Vice President Biden and his Chinese counterpart in southwestern China.Rough Cut (No reporter narration)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met again in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on Sunday (August 21) as the two visited a school close to Dujiangyan, a city that had been badly damaged in the devastating May 2008 quake. This is the last leg of Biden's visit to China, which has seen him focus on building ties and pushing for greater cooperation between the two nations. He is also keen to develop relations with his host during this visit, his Chinese counterpart Xi, who is likely to be the next Chinese President. Biden and Xi signed basketballs for the students and took questions from a class of students studying English, where Biden was careful to steer clear of discussing human rights, referring instead to "growing pains" in the U.S.-China relationship. The two also visited a local UNESCO World Heritage site, the still operating Dujiangyan irrigation system which was begun in the third century. The May 2008 quake left 87,000 people dead or missing, most likely dead, including thousands of children who were killed when school buildings collapsed on them, though the Qingchengshan High School that Biden was visiting did not record any deaths. Since the quake, aggrieved parents who lost children, and their supporters, have claimed that many of the schools were poorly built, because of corruption and lax standards. Sichuan officials said in 2009 the number of school children killed or missing from the earthquake was 5,335, but critics say more died and the government failed to punish officials. Biden will leave on Monday (August 22) for Mongolia.