Biden Wraps Up Asia Tour

Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 10:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is wrapping up his Asian tour Wednesday with a visit to U.S. Embassy workers in Tokyo and U.S. troops stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

He returns to Washington after a stop in Hawaii Thursday where he will deliver a speech at a Marine Corps base.

While in Japan, Vice President Biden visited areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and praised the courage and resolve of the Japanese people.

Speaking at the airport in the hard-hit city of Sendai Tuesday, Mr. Biden said he was “humbled” by what he was seeing.

Japan's daily Yomiuri quoted Biden as praising the U.S.-Japan alliance, which he said will continue to serve as the cornerstone of peace and security in east Asia. Biden also expressed confidence in the future of Japan's economy.

Earlier in Tokyo, he and Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirmed they will go ahead with a controversial decision to move a U.S. military base on Okinawa to another location on the same island.

Mr. Kan thanked the vice president for what he described as the “enormous assistance” provided by the United States, including the deployment of a naval task force immediately after the March 11 disasters, and technical assistance in dealing with the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The U.S. assistance to Japan has helped to improve a relationship that was strained by the long-running dispute over the stationing of U.S. troops on Okinawa.

The American Red Cross on Tuesday contributed an additional $15 million to the Japanese Red Cross, bringing its investments in the country's disaster recovery to nearly $260 million.

Biden's three-country Asian tour began last Wednesday in China. The vice president sought to assure Chinese leaders that the U.S. economy remains strong despite an unprecedented downgrade by a debt-rating agency.

Biden spent Monday in Mongolia, where he praised that nation's transition to multi-party democracy, and he thanked it for its contributions to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to peace-keeping operations.