• Kyodo


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit Japan in early December for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on economic and defense cooperation, a government source said Friday.

Biden had originally planned to make an Asian tour in the fall but was forced to reconsider the plan due to the partial government shutdown in Washington over a budget impasse that ended earlier this month, the source said.

Abe and Biden are likely to share the goal of successfully concluding as early as possible the ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord. The 12 TPP members have sought to reach a broad agreement within the year.

The two will also exchange views on the security environment in Northeast Asia, where Japan is facing tensions due to a territorial row with China as well concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program and threats posed by its missiles.

Biden’s tour is set to follow a series of cancellations by President Barack Obama of regional and bilateral summits in Asia earlier this month, after he opted to stay in Washington to handle the government shutdown, a decision some analysts warned could weaken the U.S.’ influence in Asia.

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