Earlier today, Vice President Biden departed for Beijing, China, the first stop on a nine-day swing through Asia that also includes visits to Mongolia and Japan. While this may be his first visit to Asia as Vice President, as a Senator, Vice President Biden traveled extensively throughout Asia, including to China in 1979 as part of the first Senate delegation to the country after normalization.
This time, the Vice President is visiting China at the invitation of Vice President Xi Jinping – the first of the planned reciprocal visits between the Vice Presidents announced by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao during his state visit to Washington earlier this year. One of the primary purposes of the trip is to get to know Vice President Xi. Bottom line – this visit is an investment in the future of the U.S-China relationship.
Our partners at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the five consulates around China are also using the Vice President’s visit as an opportunity to share American culture and values with Chinese netizens by microblogging and blogging about the trip in Chinese. Their followers on the two largest microblog sites in China – Sina and QQ – number over 1 million. Posts about the Office of the Vice President, interesting facts about Vice President Biden, his upcoming trip to Chengdu, Dr. Biden’s recent call for famine aid to Africa, and Peace Corps Volunteers in Sichuan have generated thousands of positive comments and retweets from Chinese netizens.
In Mongolia – the first visit of a U.S. Vice President to the country since Henry Wallace visited in 1944 – the Vice President will underscore our support for Mongolia’s two decades of democratic development and its Chairmanship of the Community of Democracies. In Ulaanbaatar, the Vice President will meet with Prime Minister Batbold and President Elbegdorj, as well as get a taste of Mongolia’s culture and sporting tradition at a demonstration of the country’s three national sports – archery, wrestling and horse racing.
Following Mongolia, the Vice President will visit a close ally and friend of the United States, Japan, to consult on a broad range of issues. The trip is also an opportunity to highlight Japan’s recovery from the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. The Vice President will meet with Prime Minister Kan and will then travel to the Sendai region to witness the reconstruction effort, as well as have the opportunity to thank American military and civilian personnel for their dedication and hard work in assisting Japan during the triple disaster.
Stay tuned to WH.gov and @VP on Twitter (hashtag #VPinAsia) for extensive updates and coverage of the Vice President’s trip.
Amy Dudley is Deputy Press Secretary for the Vice President.