Vice President Biden Begins Asia Trip

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Vice President Joe Biden would seek to intensify the U.S. role in Asia during his visits to China, Japan and Mongolia, his national security adviser said.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Biden’s Tuesday departure for Asia, Tony Blinken said it would be Biden’s first trip to East Asia as vice president although he has traveled to the continent several times as a U.S. Senator.

The trip “is part of the administration’s dedicated effort over the last 2 1/2 years to renew and intensify the U.S. role in Asia,” Blinken said, adding the trip is also “a reflection of our belief that the United States is a Pacific power whose interests are inextricably linked with Asia’s economic security and political order.”

Biden will spend four days in China, one day in Mongolia and two days in Japan.

In China, Biden will meet with the top leaders and get to know “China’s future leadership, to build a relationship with Vice President Xi (Jinping),” he said.

Xi is the likely successor to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“Simply put, we’re investing in the future of the U.S.-China relationship,” Blinken said.

Biden will be the second U.S. Vice President to travel to Mongolia after Henry Wallace, President Franklin Roosevelt’s vice president, who visited that country in 1944.

In Japan, Biden will “underscore that the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong,” Blinken said and expressed support for Japan’s recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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