Entries in Vice President Joe Biden (15)


VP Biden: ‘The Taliban...Is Not Our Enemy’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In interview with Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Vice President Joe Biden made a surprising comment about Taliban, the al-Qaeda linked group U.S. forces fight daily in Afghanistan. "The Taliban, per se is not our enemy," Biden said.

The ongoing reconciliation process has long included bringing in forces who have taken up arms against the U.S. and against the Afghan government, but the gaffe-prone Vice President will likely face criticism for stating that as an organization the Taliban is not the enemy of the U.S. -- when its leadership and members have devoted so much time, resources and energy towards killing American soldiers.

Republicans are already circulating the quote, noting that U.S. forces are still killing, and being killed by, Taliban fighters, trying to figure out how to use the quote, given the claims of some that any peace in Afghanistan will by necessity likely need to include a brokered peace with Taliban forces.

The interview was conducted by Les Gelb, with whom Biden authored the so-called “soft partition” plan to divide Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions: Sunni, Shi’a and Kurd. The plan was derided by many experts, and was later proven to be short-sighted when the troop surge orchestrated by then-President Bush -- which was criticized by then Senators Biden and Obama -- successfully turned the tide of violence in Iraq.

In the wide-ranging interview, Biden talks about how Pakistan was able to live with a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, which the U.S. would have been able to do had the Taliban stopped harboring al Qaeda. He asserts that the U.S. could have lived with the Taliban too, if that government had turned over al Qaeda members.

Then the vice president turned to the reconciliation process, saying, “We are in a position where if Afghanistan ceased and desisted from being a haven for people who do damage and have as a target the United States of America and their allies, that’s good enough. That’s good enough. We’re not there yet. Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Under Fire for 'Not Second-Guessing' China's One-Child Policy

Vice President Joe Biden sits next to Chinese Vice President Xi a during the roundtable with US and Chinese business leaders at the Beijing Hotel in Beijing, China, August 19, 2011. Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden is under fire for appearing to condone China’s one-child policy during a speech Sunday at Sichuan University in Chengdu.

Addressing social and budgetary challenges faced by the U.S. and China in the wake of respective population booms, Biden told his audience, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family.”

“The result being, that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable,” he said. “So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that's much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that.”

China’s one-child policy, which is enforced through fines, abortions and forced sterilizations of women who are found to have violated the law, is roundly criticized by human rights groups and governments around the world.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at the vice president for his remarks, saying Biden’s “acquiescence to such a policy should shock the conscience of every American.”

“Instead of condoning the policy, Vice President Biden should have condemned it in the strongest possible terms,” Romney said in a statement. “There can be no defense of a government that engages in compulsory sterilization and forced abortions in the name of population control."  

House Speaker John Boehner issued an earlier statement in which he said he was “deeply troubled” by Biden’s comments and that the “reprehensible” policy should never be condoned by an American official.

Biden’s office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the criticism or clarification of his remarks. The vice president is in Japan on the final stop of his week-long mission to East Asia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Georgetown Basketball Team Brawls in China

Patrik Giardino/Blend Images(BEIJING) -- At the same time that Vice President Biden is in China to work on relations with that country, another American institution, the Georgetown men’s basketball team wasn’t helping the cause.

An exhibition game between Georgetown and the Chinese professional team Bayi Rockets "deteriorated into a melee during which players exchanged blows, chairs were thrown and spectators tossed full water bottles as Hoyas players and coaches headed to the locker room at Olympic Sports Center Stadium," according to the Washington Post’s Gene Wang.

Georgetown Coach John Thompson III pulled his players off the court with less than ten minutes left in the game and the scored tied at 64.

The team is on a 10 day trip, according to the university.  Team members were briefed by state department officials in advance about what to expect in Beijing and Shanghai and about the status of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. Before the trip, head coach John Thompson III commented on the goals.

“There are as many people playing basketball in China as there are in the United States, and that's an amazing statistic,” Thompson said. “From an institutional standpoint, we're getting a chance to represent Georgetown and increase our reputation in China. President John J. DeGioia has focused on reaching out to other countries as a global institution, and this trip is part of that work.”

After the game, Thompson had to make a different kind of statement.

“Tonight two great team played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams,” Thompson said in a statement. “We sincerely regret that this situation occurred.”

A Twitter account set up to follow the Hoyas’ trip to China noted during the game that ended in fighting that “Coach is getting animated -- Hoyas all about grabbing the W,” and that he threw a towel.

Vice President Biden attended a Georgetown basketball exhibition match with a different Chinese team the night before.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden to Travel to China, Mongolia, and Japan

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has released a statement saying Vice President Joe Biden will depart for China, Mongolia, and Japan on August 16, 2011.  

He will visit China at the invitation of Vice President Xi Jinping – the first of the planned reciprocal visits between the vice presidents announced during President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington earlier this year.  

While in China, Vice President Biden will meet with Vice President Xi and other Chinese leaders, including President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, to discuss a broad range of issues.  

Vice President Biden will also visit the city of Chengdu, in China’s Southwest.

In Ulaanbaatar, the vice president will underscore U.S. support for Mongolia’s two decades of democratic development and our growing economic ties.  

In Japan, Vice President Biden will express U.S. support for its close ally in the wake of the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emergency.  

The vice president will thank U.S. civilian and military personnel for their assistance in responding to the disaster, as well as highlight Japan’s resilience during the recovery and rebuilding process.

Additional details about the vice president’s trip will be released at a later date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Biden: 'We're Keeping Our Promises' On Afghanistan

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday drove home the president’s message on Afghanistan, saying in a video blog that “we’re keeping our promises” to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and bring the war to a close.

In a short post on the White House website, Biden boasts of the administration’s accomplishments in Iraq and Afghanistan and reiterates that it’s time to refocus resources to the homefront.

“By winding down these wars and bringing home our troops we will free up significant resources,” he says. “After a decade of war, amid rising debt and hard economic times, this is an investment well worth making because our economic prosperity has always been the key to our progress not only at home, but for our security around the world.”

With a $14 trillion budget deficit, the administration faces not only a war-weary public, but also lawmakers demanding that they refocus America’s resources at home -- something Biden, the chief negotiator in the debt talks with Congress, is keenly aware of.

After months of review, the president on Wednesday night outlined the withdrawal of the 33,000 “surge” troops that he deployed in December 2009, and committed to begin withdrawing in July. Obama announced that he is bringing 10,000 U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 23,000 by the end of next summer, several months earlier than originally anticipated.

In what comes off as shortened version of the president’s speech, Biden says “the president is making good on his commitment to bring our young men and women home, right on schedule.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Moscow, VP Biden Pushes for Democratic Reforms, Russia's WTO Bid

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- In the signature event of his five-day trip abroad, Vice President Biden called for Russia to make further progress on democratic reforms and reiterated the Obama administration’s support for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization, citing the opportunity for strong commercial ties between the two nations.

“The next frontier in our relationship,” Biden said, “will be building stronger ties of trade and commerce that match the security cooperation we have accomplished over the last two years and hopefully will continue to grow.”

Noting several times that the U.S.-Russia relationship had improved, Biden delivered some chiding words for Russia’s leadership, which he said he could do without jeopardizing ties between the two nations.

“We will continue to object when we think human rights are violated or democracy and the rule of law is undermined,” he said.

The vice president specifically mentioned the cases of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was arrested after accusing police of fraud and died in prison before being tried, and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsy, imprisoned since 2003 amid charges of misconduct in his trial.

The vice president, in a subtle nod to what is happening across the Middle East, said that this was not just the United States asking for more from Russia, but also the Russian people who “now call on their country to strengthen their democratic institutions.”

In a speech that was very lengthy even by Biden’s standards, the vice president touched on a wide range of issues: the U.S.-Russian relationship and the “reset” the Obama administration deemed a key part of its foreign policy agenda in 2009; nuclear proliferation; Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan; and economic cooperation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: White House Calls for 'Clear Timeline' on Mubarak Departure

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In a phone call with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, Vice President Biden called for President Hosni Mubarak to spell out when he intends to leave office.

In the strongest words to date, the White House said that during the phone call to Suleiman, Biden "stressed the need for a concrete reform agenda, a clear timeline, and immediate steps that demonstrate to the public and the opposition that the Egyptian government is committed to reform."

The calls for a "clear timeline" and "immediate steps" demonstrating a commitment to political reform are the latest ratcheting up of public rhetoric about President Obama's desire that Mubarak exit sooner rather than later.

First the administration called Mubarak an "ally" who needed to usher in reforms, then officials began to talk about the need for an "orderly transition," later specified as needing to begin "now." In a then-private message to Mubarak, President Obama said the next government should not be headed by Mubarak or his son.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Calls Egyptian President Mubarak an “Ally,” Not a Dictator

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with the NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer Thursday, Vice President Biden said he would not refer to Egyptian President Mubarak as a dictator and instead called him an “ally” on a number of key foreign policy issues.

When asked if it was time for Mubarak to stand aside, Biden said no.

“I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that -- to be more responsive to some of the -- some -- some of the needs of the people out there,” Biden said.

Biden said the people protesting are “middle-class folks” who are looking for more opportunity.

“Violence isn’t appropriate and people have a right to protest,” he said, adding that he hopes Mubarak will “respond to some of the legitimate concerns that are being raised.”

“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things.  And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with Israel,” the vice president said.  “And I think that it would be -- I would not refer to him as a dictator."

Biden stressed repeatedly that when it comes to Egypt and Tunisia, the United States urges all parties to resolve concerns and differences through peaceful and amicable discussions, not violence.

The vice president said that the Obama administration is urging the protestors in both Egypt and Tunisia that “as they assemble, do it peacefully” and encouraging the governments there to “act responsibly and to try to engage in a discussions as to what the legitimate claims are being made.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden Arrives in Baghdad to Meet with Iraqi Political Leaders

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (BAGHDAD) -- Vice President Biden has arrived in Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi political leaders.

This is Biden’s seventh trip to Iraq since January 2009. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan already this week.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqiyya leader Ayad Allawi, President Jalal Talabani, Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, and other political leaders.

Last month he commended Iraq’s political leaders for the formation and swearing-in of the new coalition government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

“There are many challenges ahead, but I am convinced Iraq is up to them.  The United States stands ready to help and to strengthen even more the important partnership we have built,” Biden said in a paper statement in December.

Biden was in regular contact with Iraqi leaders over the last nine months as they struggled to form this coalition. He traveled to Baghdad in late August to mark the official end of the U.S. combat mission there and also met with Maliki and Allawi, the former prime minister who lead a Sunni-backed coalition that was jockeying for power with Maliki since the March elections.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden to Pakistan: Fight Extremism or Be 'Consumed' By It

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(ISLAMABAD) -- Vice President Joe Biden made an unannounced trip to Pakistan Wednesday to try and push government and military leaders to crack down on militants and shore up a shaky economy.

Biden delivered that message in private and in public, one week after a prominent politician was assassinated and crowds across the country celebrated his killer.

“Societies that tolerate such actions wind up being consumed by those actions,” Biden said to the media in prepared remarks.

Biden was in the country for only about six hours and did not meet any Pakistanis who do not work in the government or military.  He traveled by motorcade under extraordinary security from the airport to the U.S. embassy, then onto the presidential palace, the prime minister’s residence, and the military’s headquarters before departing for an unannounced destination.‬

He had arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he spent a day-and-a-half in three different provinces, meeting with President Hamid Karzai, U.S. troops, and U.S. diplomats in a trip that was far more extensive than the one he made to Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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