PICTURES

US Vice President Biden meets Japan Prime Minister Abe, visits hawker centre

US Vice-President Joe Biden (front centre) walks with his son-in-law Howard Krien (left) during a visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
US Vice-President Joe Biden (front centre) walks with his son-in-law Howard Krien (left) during a visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
US Vice-President Joe Biden gestures to a stall handler during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden gestures to a stall handler during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden (centre) drinks his lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden (centre) drinks his lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden drinks a cup of lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden drinks a cup of lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US Vice-President Joe Biden drinks a cup of lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
US Vice-President Joe Biden drinks a cup of lime juice during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
US Vice-President Joe Biden (left) shakes hands with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Ritz Carlton on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
US Vice-President Joe Biden (left) shakes hands with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Ritz Carlton on Friday, July 26, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

United States Vice President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Friday. They discussed a wide range of issues related to global and regional cooperation and the US-Japan alliance.

Mr Biden welcomed Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and stressed the importance of moving forward "expeditiously" to deepen trade and investment ties bilaterally as well as across the region.

The TPP is a trade pact being negotiated by 12 countries including Singapore. When finalised, it is set to encompass 40 percent of the global economy.

In brief opening remarks Mr Biden also congratulated Mr Abe on his party's win in the election for Japan parliament's upper house.

Both men are on separate visits to Singapore at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Mr Biden arrived from India on Thursday, as part of a week-long trip to Asia.

On Friday morning, he visited the National Orchid Garden, where an orchid was named after him and his wife Jill.

Mr Biden and his son-in-law Howard Krein also made a brief stop at Adam Road hawker centre for a taste of local fare. They did not buy any food, but bought a cup of fresh lime juice each from drinks stall Taj Mahal.

Drinks stall owner Shahul Haeed, 72, asked Mr Biden to try a cup of teh tarik but Mr Biden politely declined.

"I said this is the local teh tarik. You mix the tea with condensed milk and then you pull," he said spreading his arms wide apart. "The more you pull the more bubbles form. He didn't try it though."

Mr Biden's visit continues with a call on President Tony Tan, PM Lee and former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Friday afternoon.

This is his first visit to Singapore in an official capacity.