AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. — Vice President Joe Biden completed his trip to Chengdu and Beijing, China, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Tokyo, Japan this Wednesday, winding up in Honolulu before returning to the mainland United States on Thursday.
Biden arrived in China on Aug. 17, where he spoke at Sichuan University in Chengdu, on the U.S. — China partnership. He described a China that will fuel economic growth and prosperity as the partner and a major figure in meeting global challenges.
He said China is a top priority of the Obama administration, and that nine top level meetings and more than 60 subordinate meetings has demonstrated how determined they are to set a stable and sustainable course to benefit the citizens of both countries.
“A more prosperous China will mean more demand for American-made goods and services and more jobs back home in the United States of America,” said Biden at Sichuan University. “So our desire for your prosperity is not borne out of some nobility. It is in our self-interest that China continue to prosper.”
Biden addressed common challenges as particularly in regards to human rights, and said that when it is viewed in a larger context, then protecting freedoms that are also part of China’s international commitments and its own constitution we be a key aspect of China’s successful emergence and the key continued growth and prosperity.
“I know that some in China believe that greater freedom could threaten economic progress by undermining social stability,” he said. “I do not pretend to have the answer, but I believe history has shown the opposite to be true, that in the long run, greater openness is a source of stability and a sign of strength, that prosperity peaks when governments foster both free enterprise and free exchange of ideas, that liberty unlocks a people’s full potential. And in its absence, unrest festers.”
Biden called for openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise and liberty as the reasons why the United States is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.
On Aug. 22, Biden traveled to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. There he met with President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at the Government Building, Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, and attend a cultural demonstration of traditional Mongolian sports.
Biden and Batbold, visited Washington last June, spoke to press in the Spirit Banner Room of the capital.
Batbold called Biden’s visit significant in coinciding with a series of important anniversaries in the history of Mongolia, and precedes the 25th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2012. He was pleased with the meetings and said the common values and shared interests will push the partnership forward.
“The successful implementation of Millennium Challenge Corporation projects will significantly reduce poverty, increase transportation — the Mongolian side has expressed its interest in launching talks in the MCC second compact agreement,” said Batbold.
The two signed a memorandum of understanding between MIAT Mongolian Airlines and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency aimed at developing civil aviation sector and improving MIAT training and capacity. Batbold said this is an important contribution to the development of the bilateral economic cooperation.
“Moreover, we have exchanged our views on other fields of our bilateral cooperation, particularly cooperation in the field of education,” he added. “The Mongolian side has requested the United States side to explore the possibilities to increase the number of scholarships for Mongolian students. This year alone 16 Mongolian students were selected to study in the United States through Fulbright Scholarship Program.”
Biden referenced Mongolia’s demonstration on Human Rights Day in 1989, which it blossomed into a movement that inspired thousands of Mongolians, and led to the country’s first free elections, and eventually ended decades of one-party rule.
“Today, Mongolia is not just a shining example for other nations in transition but it’s an emerging leader in the worldwide democratic movement, a responsible actor on the world stage, and a close friend and partner of the United States,” said Biden. “And none of that is an exaggeration. It is literal.”
Mongolia assumed the chairmanship of the Community of Democracies, a coalition of democratic countries dedicated to promoting democracy around the world. Mongolia’s term as chairman will culminate with a Democratic Summit held in 2013 in Ulaan Bataar.
Biden commented on Mongolian soldiers that have served with the International Coalition Forces in Iraq and approximately 400 will soon be serving in Afghanistan. He commented on closer economic relations and a new transparency agreement that would make Mongolia a more attractive destination for America and foreign investment.
Biden was in Tokyo on Aug. 23, where he toured the Sendai region to witness the work to rebuild from the earthquake and tsunami. He met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who expressed Japan gratitude for the assistance it has received from the U.S. since the March disaster.
On Aug. 24, Biden visited the U.S. Embassy staff and families in Tokyo, before speaking to U.S. service members and their families at Yokota Air Base, headquarters of U.S. Forces Japan, to recognize their assistance in Japan’s recovery efforts.
U.S. service members delivered relief supplies, assisted search and rescue efforts, provided specialized technical assistance, and helped restore critical local infrastructure. They were instrumental in helping clear and reopen the Sendai Airport and ports in Miyako and Oshima in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.
Biden concluded his Asian trip with a trip to Kaneohe, Hawaii on Aug. 24.