The schedule of his trip couldn’t be more timely as United States Vice President Joe Biden goes on a 3-nation tour of East Asia, amidst China implementing its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) much to the protest of its neighbours. He arrived late Monday evening in Tokyo, in a bid to reassure its ally and the rest of the region of the commitment of President Barack Obama’s commitment to its foreign policy focus on Asia.
Biden was met by newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy on Monday and on Tuesday morning, his very first activity was to have coffee with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny who happened to be staying in the same hotel for his own Tokyo visit. Later today, he will be meeting with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the issue that will probably be topmost on their minds is the ongoing tense relations with China over their ADIZ, which overlaps with Japan’s airspace, particularly over the disputed islands of Senkaku/Diaoyu. While both Japan and the U.S. have criticized Beijing’s move, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has advised U.S. commercial airlines to abide by China’s rules to avoid any possible miscommunications while Japan has done otherwise.
When it comes to some questioning their “staying power,” Biden said that Japan knows that the U.S. has stayed in the region for 60 years to help make possible its “economic miracle” by providing security and stability. “Economically, diplomatically, militarily, we have been, we are, and we will remain a resident Pacific power,” he said. He will also be going on a tour of a technology company and hosting a forum to talk about the role of women in changing Japan’s economy. Later this week, he will be moving on to China and then afterwards, South Korea, to discuss respective security and economic issues as well.
[ via AP ]