US senator heads to Asia to meet top leaders
WASHINGTON, DC (AFP) - A top United States (US) senator headed on Monday to meet senior leaders in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as Congress looks for new security and trade moves in Asia.
Mr Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun Hye, along with officials in China and Taiwan, his office said.
His trip comes at a time of uneasy relations between South Korea and Japan - US allies where together more than 80,000 American troops are stationed - due to renewed disputes linked to wartime history.
Japan's ties with China have also been tense, with Mr Abe vowing a firm line against what he sees as increasingly assertive attempts by Beijing to challenge Tokyo's control over strategic islands.