Key U.S. senator plans Asia tour

JIJI

Robert Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will visit Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and mainland China for nine days from Tuesday.

The New Jersey Democrat will stay in Japan for the first three days of the East Asian trip for talks with such key government figures as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

Menendez is known to have led the Senate’s adoption last month of a resolution condemning China’s use of coercion, threats or force to assert territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, including waters around the Senkaku Islands, which are under Okinawa’s jurisdiction.

With Abe, the senator is expected to exchange opinions on how to deal with China and where the Japan-U.S. alliance should be heading, observers said.