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Vice U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Japan, China and South Korea in the first week of December, the White House said Monday.
In Tokyo, Biden will discuss with Japanese leaders the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement and "seek further momentum on key alliance goals," the White House said.
Biden's visit to Japan will come ahead of a ministerial meeting in Singapore among the United States, Japan and 10 other countries involving negotiations for concluding the U.S.-led TPP pact by the end of this year.
The vice president's visit to Japan next month may also draw attention to the long-standing issue of how to implement the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture in line with a bilateral accord.
The Japanese government already asked Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima to permit a land-filling project off the Henoko coastal area in Nago as a key step before starting construction the relocation site for the Futenma base, which is now in the densely populated city of Ginowan.
Nakaima, who is opposed to the plan and calls for a relocation of the air field to outside the prefecture, has said he may decide in December or later whether or not to permit the land-filling.
More details about Biden's trip to East Asia such as whether he will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be announced later.
In Beijing and Seoul, Biden will meet their leaders to compare notes on global and regional issues, the White House said.
The vice president will discuss with South Korean leaders "our close cooperation and coordination to address security threats," the White House said, apparently referring issues related North Korea such as possible resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang.
The United States and South Korea as well as Japan and China are members of the stalled six-nation talks on North Korea's denuclearization.
The six-party talks, which also involve Russia, have been deadlocked since 2008 as North Korea has continued with its nuclear program despite its commitment to abandoning the program under the multinational framework.
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