Posted on November 6, 2013 by Asia Briefing
Nov. 6 – On Joe Biden’s second trip to Asia as vice president of the United States of America, he will be visiting Japan, China and the Republic of Korea. The trip will take place in the first week of December and looks to be the U.S. administration’s effort to push its “Asia pivot” back on track.
U.S. President Obama recently missed an important trip to Asia (which was to involve two major Asia summits) due to a domestic governmental shutdown. Thus, the vice president’s trip has taken on additional importance.
Among the important issues to be discussed with the nations Vice President Biden will be visiting is the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a global free trade agreement between the U.S. and a number of Asian countries.
During his time in Beijing, China, Vice President Biden will meet with key Chinese leaders in order to discuss global and regional issues of common interest to both parties. The two countries will likely discuss implementing the items that arose during the 5th Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which was held in July of this year. The S&ED involved discussions on economic, security, and trade issues. Vice President Biden is also likely to push forward with further discussions on a proposed bilateral investment agreement between China and the U.S.
The U.S. will also want to discuss the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization of North Korea. The issue of cyber-security is also a topic that is sure to be delicately broached by both sides.
Vice President Biden has a good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which should help his meetings go smoothly – the two previously met when Mr. Xi, then vice president, visited the U.S. The U.S. vice president’s visit will take place after the conclusion of the Third Plenum of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress on November 12th.
According to the White House, Vice President Biden’s discussions in Tokyo will cover “a broad range of issues, focusing on progress towards a high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, seeking further momentum on key alliance goals and discussing a range of regional and global challenges.”
The topic of the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, is also a hot topic that will likely be discussed.
In Seoul, Korea, the vice president will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues, including cooperation on security threats.
Time will tell whether the renewed effort by the U.S. to focus on Asia will be successful. You can be sure, however, that all the countries in the region will be watching very carefully.