With the fiscal stalemate in Washington threatening the global economy, China has called for the U.S. dollar to be replaced as the international reserve currency as well as for broader steps to create a "de-Americanized world." China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, with about $1.3 trillion in Treasury bonds, and is concerned about the impact of a U.S. failure to raise the debt limit on those holdings.

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that global finance ministers are worried the uncertainty surrounding a U.S. default "would mean massive disruption the world over, and we would be at risk of tipping yet again into a recession."