By Jueseppi B.
US Vice President Joe Biden (above) arrived in Tokyo on Monday, Dec 2, 2013, on the first leg of a swing through northeast Asia at a time of heightened regional tensions. — FILE PHOTO: AP
From Associated Press:
TOKYO (AFP) – US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Tokyo on Monday on the first leg of a swing through northeast Asia at a time of heightened regional tensions.
Mr Biden, who was greeted at the airport by new US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy,will meet Japanese leaders on Tuesday, as they will be looking for robust support in their increasingly bitter dispute with China over territory.
The visit, which will see Mr Biden meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing before heading to Seoul and a meeting with President Park Geun Hye, comes just over a week after China declared an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea.
It says any plane entering the zone, which covers the archipelago it contests with Japan, must file flight plans and obey its orders, on pain of unspecified “defensive emergency measures”.
Japan, South Korea and the US have all disregarded China’s rules amid calls on Beijing for them to be retracted.
Analysts say in his meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be looking for Mr Biden’s fulsome backing for his position that China is being unreasonable and aggressive over the issue.
But they point out that, while the US needs to reassure Tokyo, it must avoid going too far and angering Beijing or emboldening the hawkish Mr Abe unnecessarily.
In Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Biden will also meet Mr Abe’s deputy Taro Aso, as well as Crown Prince Naruhito.
He heads to Beijing on Wednesday and to Seoul on Thursday.
Thank you Associated Press.
Monday, December 2 2013 All Times ET
9:00 AM: The Vice President arrives in Tokyo, Haneda Airport.
Background Press Briefing on Vice President Biden’s Trip to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea
9:19 A.M. EST
MS. TROTTER: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us this morning to learn more about the Vice President’s trip to China, Japan and South Korea next week. Our speakers today, who you can quote as senior administration officials, will get us started with some information about the Vice President’s schedule and goals during his trip, and then we’ll take some of your questions. And if we could limit it to one question per person and outlet, that would be great.
And with that, I will let our first speaker get started.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, everybody, for joining the call today. I’ll spend a few minutes at the top giving a broad outline of the purpose behind the trip, and then the main elements at each of the three stops, and turn it over to one of my colleagues to provide some more context and color, and then we’d be happy to take your questions.
As most of you know, the Vice President will be traveling next week to Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, leaving on Sunday, December 1st, returning to the United States on Saturday, December 8th. And above all, the trip will underscore the administration’s strong commitment to the rebalance, and to our enduring role as a Pacific power. It is an opportunity to give lift to our treaty alliances and to advance our very important relationship with China.
As the Vice President has said before, we, right from the top of this administration, the President on down, we’re all in on the rebalance in all of its dimensions — economic, strategic and values-based. And this trip will cap a very active year of engagement by this administration in the Asia Pacific region. Just in the last few months, you’ve seen Secretary Hagel visiting both Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia; Secretary Kerry, Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Moniz, Secretary Lew, Ambassador Froman, all making trips out to the region and engaging on a variety of issues across the spectrum of our engagement. And of course, last week our National Security Advisor Susan Rice gave an important speech on the second-term agenda for Asia Pacific policy at Georgetown University.
So the list of engagement at the Cabinet level and higher goes on, but fundamentally the message is clear and simple: The United States is a resident Pacific power, we’re here to stay, and we’re actively engaged on the full spectrum of issues in the region.
Now, in addition to that broad message that the Vice President will carry with him to each of his stops, there’s obviously a range of urgent and immediate issues that will benefit from high-level attention on this trip. And we’ll look forward to discussing some of those during the question and answer session — our efforts to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership, our efforts to bring about a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, our efforts to contribute to the lowering of tensions and the advance of diplomacy on the East China Sea and the South China Sea, our efforts to strengthen our economic relationship with China coming out of their third plenum, and to enhance implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and of course important alliance issues in both Japan and Korea.
And it’s especially important, I think, at a time when there is the potential in the region for some miscalculation, some mistrust, that we continue to amplify our messages — that we are and always will be there for our allies, and that there is a way for two major powers in the U.S. and China to build a different kind of relationship for the 21st century. So this is an important moment in the Asia Pacific and an important moment in our relationships with all three of the countries the Vice President will be visiting.
So just a couple of minutes on the specific elements of the agenda on each of the three stops. In Japan, the Vice President will travel to Tokyo where he’ll meet and have a working dinner with Prime Minister Abe. He’ll also meet with members of the Diet, including Deputy Prime Minister Aso. And he’ll be joined by the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy for an event to highlight the role of women in the Japanese economy and the reform agenda on this set of issues being pursued by the Japanese government. And in that regard, he will be touring a local technology company that’s owned and run by a woman entrepreneur, and he’ll host a roundtable discussion to explore the challenges faced by women as they enter and remain in the workplace.
He will then move on to Beijing, where he will have bilateral meetings with President Xi, Vice President Li and Premier Li to cover the broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues. And here he will pick up where President Obama and President Xi left off after Sunnylands and the G20, with the kind of high-level, personal engagement between the top leaderships of our two countries that is an essential part of advancing the U.S.-China relationship in the 21st century.
In Seoul, the Vice President will meet with President Park and Prime Minister Jong. He’ll deliver keynote remarks at Yonsei University on the U.S.-Korea relationship, which will — it has its 60th anniversary of the alliance this year, as well as on the U.S. approach and policy towards the Asia Pacific at large.
The Vice President will also have the opportunity with — to meet with both of our countries’ troops and to receive a briefing on security on the peninsula. And he will also lay a wreath at a cemetery honoring those Americans who gave their lives six decades ago to help secure a free and democratic South Korea.
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