U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is expected to visit Japan in early December for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on economic and defense cooperation, a Japanese government source said Friday.
Biden had originally planned to make a tour to Asian nations in this autumn but been 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 a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord. The 12 TPP members, also involving such countries as Singapore, Australia and Mexico, have sought to reach a broad agreement within the year.
The two leaders will also exchange views on security environment in Northeast Asia, where Japan has faced tensions over a territorial row with China and threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.
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 closure, which some analysts warned could weaken U.S. influence in the region.