Biden: U.S. will not leave Europe behind

July 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- The United States will not leave Europe behind as it pursues its Asia-Pacific rebalancing policy, Vice President Joe Biden said.

Speaking about the new policy at the Center for American Progress at George Washington University, Biden said in his recent trips to Europe, the future of U.S.-Europe relations came up in talks with European leaders.

"It should be clear on its face, we're not leaving Europe," Biden said. "I recently spoke to the European nations, NATO members and EU members, in Munich. And I said that Europe remains 'the cornerstone of our engagement with the rest of the world.' That is a fact. We're not going anywhere."

In fact, Biden said the United States is convinced its engagement in the Pacific is in the "overwhelming self-interest of Europe" as the combination of new transatlantic economic agreements the United States is working on and its Trans-Pacific Partnership will only reinforce one another.

"They are not at odds with one another. Together, they're designed to update and strengthen the global economic rules of the world in the 21st century," Biden said. He said stability in Asia-Pacific will also benefit Europe.

"And by the way, there is no reason why we cannot bring greater focus to the Asia-Pacific and keep our eye on the ball in the Middle East. Folks, that's what big powers do. To use the vernacular, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. That's what big powers do," Biden said.

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