President Hu Jintao told visiting US Vice-President Joe Biden yesterday that China and the United States should set aside their differences in order to strengthen mutual strategic co-operation, as both sides remarked positively on Biden's visit. They noted that Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping, who is expected to become China's president in 2013, formed a better relationship after a series of talks, but the schedule for Xi's reciprocal visit to Washington, which analysts are watching closely, has not been fixed. Senior Chinese leaders held friendly meetings with Biden yesterday. He was about 20 minutes late for the meeting with Hu because his meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao was extended. That session ran overtime because Wen took Biden for a walk around the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in central Beijing after their meeting. Biden had said during the meeting he thought Wen looked so much younger than him because Zhongnanhai's environment is so much better than his workplace. Biden and Wen were both born in 1942. Wen then offered to take his guest around Zhongnanhai. Biden asked if Wen would write a note to Hu of why he would be late for their meeting. The friendly gestures continued in that meeting, with Hu saying China would continue co-ordinating and co-operating with the US in global and regional affairs through bilateral and multilateral channels. 'China and the US should properly handle major sensitive issues between the two sides, and be determined to keep Sino-US development on track, promoting a stable and healthy Sino-US co-operative partnership based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefit,' Hu said. Biden replied that he would like to visit China again in the near future. He is being accompanied by Xi on most of his China trip. Stressing the importance of building personal ties with Xi, Biden said his meetings with the vice-president and other Chinese leaders were extremely helpful. He said he had started to establish a 'very good relationship' with Xi. 'I look forward to working with him [and hope] to continue the great legacy you have begun in our relationship,' he told Hu. In addition to financial issues, Biden discussed North Korea's nuclear programme and Taiwan affairs with Chinese officials, and Beijing urged Washington to respect its core interests, Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said last night. Cui said the two sides talked about a wide range of economic and trade issues, but did not touch on the appreciation of the renminbi. State media had earlier said Taiwan would feature on the agenda, but Cui did not say whether the two vice-presidents had talked about the possible upgrading of the island's F16A/B jets. Cui said the date of Xi's reciprocal US trip had not been decided, but that the foreign ministries of both countries would start making preparations after Biden's tour. Biden will go to Chengdu, Sichuan, today, where he will deliver a speech at a university on Sunday and visit Dujiangyan, devastated by an earthquake in 2008.