US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to reassure Chinese business and government leaders that the US would not default on its debt, speaking during a visit to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the South China Morning Post reported. “Let me assure you, we understand the stakes,” Clinton said in a Hong Kong speech. “We know how important this is for us and how important it is for you.” Clinton also travelled to Shenzhen – not originally on her 11-day world tour itinerary – to meet with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. China holds about US$1.2 trillion in US sovereign debt, but so far Beijing has downplayed any criticism of political wrangling in Washington. Leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress have been in negotiations with Democratic President Obama to raise the debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline.