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Biden Thanks Troops For Earthquake Aid

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday thanked U.S. troops who helped in the massive relief operation after an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in the spring.

“What you accomplished here in Japan the past few months is astounding,” Biden told troops at Yokota Air Base. “Thank you for making America look as good as we are.”

On Tuesday, Biden toured the devastated part of the country, including Sendai airport, one of the first places U.S. troops deployed after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Stars and Stripes reported.

Biden ended his nine-day, three-country Asian tour at the air base. He also visited China and Mongolia.

“You guys are awe-inspiring,” Biden told the troops.

Biden called the U.S. military a “stabilizing force” in the Pacific that has contributed to the region’s security and economic growth, including China’s economic rise.

“The United States is a Pacific power,” Biden said Wednesday.

The vice president also said the military personnel’s role “will become increasingly important. You are the glue that holds this all together.”

The Los Angeles Times quoted Biden as saying his trip that began in China wasn’t meant to provide reassurance about American finances.

“I didn’t come to explain a damn thing,” he said.

However, in an interview with the Times, Biden said discussions with Chinese leaders behind closed doors about U.S. finances didn’t match public criticism.

“I didn’t get any sense that there was any anxiety from them, on the part of the Chinese government, about whether or not we were a rising or declining economic power,” he said. “I got the sense that just like to us, they were hoping we’d begin to grow again seriously because it’s in their interest.”

Biden is scheduled to visit military personnel in Hawaii before returning to Washington Friday.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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