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Biden arrives in Korea amid soured Korea-Japan ties

Updated: 2013-12-06 AM 6:29:06 (KST)
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Korea will be the last stop for U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, as he wraps up his three nation tour of Northeast Asia.
Biden will meet with President Park Geun-hye on Friday to discuss ways to handle China's new air defense identification zone and Japan's ongoing efforts to regain its right to collective self-defense.
China's surprise announcement of an expanded air defense zone has escalated military tensions among its neighbors as it overlaps with those of Korea and Japan.
Washington has said it does not recognize the zone and the stance was reiterated by Biden when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Sources say Seoul and Washington are finalizing consultations on expanding Korea's air defense zone and that the new plan will be announced once Biden departs for home.
Biden's trip marks the first visit by a high-ranking U.S. official since Washington expressed support for Japan's pursuit of collective self defense.
The move was met with strong backlash from Korea and China as it is reminiscent of Japan's militaristic past, and the vice president is expected to address Seoul's security concerns regarding the issue.
It is widely believed that Biden will urge Seoul to leave the past behind for the sake of a stronger trilateral alliance between Korea, the U.S. and Japan.
The two neighbors have been at odds over historical perception, with Korea repeatedly calling on Japan to apologize for its wartime atrocities during its 35-year colonization of Korea.
During his stay in Seoul, the vice president is scheduled to give a speech on foreign policy at Yonsei University on Friday and visit the demilitarized zone, the heavily armed border between the two Koreas, on Saturday before returning to the U.S.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.

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