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Kerry assures China's Li U.S. committed to ending fiscal crisis

China's Premier Li Keqiang delivers his opening speech at the 16th ASEAN-China Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, October 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ahim
China's Premier Li Keqiang delivers his opening speech at the 16th ASEAN-China Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, October 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ahim

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured China's Premier Li Keqiang the United States was committed to resolving a fiscal impasse after the Chinese leader raised the issue in a meeting on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Brunei, a senior State Department official said on Thursday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kerry made clear that the U.S. government shutdown, now in its ninth day, and friction over the U.S. budget "is a moment in Washington politics and reaffirmed the President's commitment to resolving the issue."

The official said the debt issue was "briefly referenced" during the meeting.

China is the biggest holder of U.S. debt and some Chinese officials have raised concerns over a drawn-out crisis in Washington. According to data from the U.S. Treasury, Beijing holds $1.28 trillion of Treasury debt. It also has additional U.S. agency debt.

The U.S. Congress has so far failed to strike a deal to raise the U.S. government's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit, which is set to expire on October 17, roiling markets and pushing the dollar close to its recent eight-month low against other major currencies.

"They also agreed that the United States has one of the strongest economies in the world and that they have a shared interest in continuing the close economic working relationship," the official added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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