Visiting US Vice-President Joe Biden yesterday asked the capital's top think tanks what factors Chinese leaders considered when formulating foreign policy, two sources with knowledge of the meeting told the Sunday Morning Post. The US embassy said on its official Sina Weibo, or microblog, that Biden met five Chinese scholars during a closed-door meeting at the embassy yesterday before heading to the southwestern city of Chengdu, Sichuan province. The scholars were Peking University's dean of the international studies school Wang Jisi and his deputy, Jia Qingguo, Renmin University's Jin Canrong, Tsinghua University's Yan Xuetong and China Institute of Contemporary International Relations president Cui Liru. Biden was also concerned with the restrictions Chinese leaders faced in setting foreign policy, sources said. The meeting lasted for about two hours. 'Biden wanted to know Chinese views about many international issues, such as Libya as well as the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes,' one source said. 'He wanted to know what restraints the Chinese leaders faced when making foreign-affairs policy.' The scholars told him that China needed to consider mainly two public sentiments, one advocating more co-operation with the US and the other blaming the US for adopting a conspiracy theory towards China. They also told him that the US needed to handle Taiwan issues cautiously because some Chinese believed 'they cannot tolerate any disrespect when China's international power is rising'. Another source said Biden told the academics that he had become more familiar with the development of China after the past two days of meetings with its leaders. Both sources said he gave a positive outlook of Sino-US ties and appeared to be amiable when discussing China's internal problems. 'Biden showed us that he had considered the perspective of China when we were discussing the ageing population and unemployment,' one source said. 'He sometimes jokingly said, 'Handling such problems would be an enormous challenge to me if I were in China'.' The US vice-president's main mission on this trip is to build a personal relationship with his counterpart Xi Jinping, who is expected to be China's next leader, and to assure Beijing that the US economy remains healthy. Biden is accompanied by Xi in Chengdu, where he will deliver a speech on Sino-US ties to university students. The governments of both countries have commented positively on the relationship between Xi and Biden. Chinese analysts said Xi appeared more frank and straightforward at the meeting than expected. 'It is a signal that China may continue its existing US policy after its leadership reshuffle next year,' said Tao Wenzhao, a fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.