Report: Biden gets China portfolio

Vice President Joseph Biden has been handed the leading role in managing the Obama administration’s policy-making toward China, according to a report.

Biden got the China portfolio over two of President Obama’s senior-most Cabinet members, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, The Atlantic reported on Monday.

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A White House official told the publication that adding China policy to the vice president’s agenda is not “a critique of either Clinton or Geithner's management of the China portfolio — but rather, the rise of Hu Jintao heir apparent and current Vice Premier Xi Jinping as the likely next president of China created certain practical challenges in dealing with him on a same-status level throughout much of 2012 until Xi's accession to the presidency is formalized.”

“The view of some of the administration's China-handlers is that management of US-China policy has become so central to a vast array of other policy challenges that the administration's approach needs to be both broad and managed with ‘a deep and senior bench,’” according to the report.

China is seen as America’s top economic and military rival, and how to shape policy on the Asian giant is expected to be an important issue in the presidential election cycle.