Taoiseach meets US Vice-President Biden in Tokyo
The Taoiseach met with US Vice-President Joe Biden and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo this morning during which the progress of the North's peace process, US immigration legislation and Ireland's exit from the bailout were discussed.
"I referred to some developments in Ireland including discussions that are taking place with Richard Haas at the moment in regard to the issue of flags, parades and the past. I discussed with him the situation in so far as the immigration legislation in the Senate and Congress and his hopes for that," said the Taoiseach.
The Vice-President is on a weeklong visit to Asia and had flown into Tokyo several hours in an effort to ease escalating tensions between China and Japan over Beijing's recent declaration that all aircraft passing over the East China Sea will be required to identify itself to authorities, submit its flight plan and follow instructions, or risk the possibility of "offensive emergency measures" from China.
During his trip, Vice-President Biden will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and also the Premiers of China and South Korea.
However beforehand he had a 30-minute morning meeting with the Taoiseach who is in Japan as part of a four-day trade mission and who had met with Prime Minister Abe the previous day. Both Mr Kenny and Mr Biden were staying at the Okura Hotel in the city, and the Taoiseach had sent a note to the Vice-President requesting a meeting.
According to the Taoiseach, they also discussed trade links in the region. "I also spoke with the Vice President about my meeting with Prime Minister Abe in respect of Ireland developing links with Japan and Ireland working through the EU in the sense of the Japanese-European free-trade agreement and the decision by Japan to lift restrictions of beef into Japan which is of interest to our agri-economy."
And the discussion also touched on the situation between Japan and China in the wake of Mr Kenny's meeting with the Japanese prime minister.
Following the Monday meeting the Taoiseach had said that he and prime minster Abe had discussed the growing tensions in the region. "Ireland learned from experience that the only way to sort out situations like this is through negotiation and discussion and dialogue and we offer that lesson from our perspective to Japan. This is a very serious matter and one doesn't want to contemplate unintended consequences," he warned.