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Biden to head to Asia for congressional trip

Vice President-elect Joe Biden is heading to Southwest Asia on a congressional trip.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Joe Biden is heading to Southwest Asia on a congressional trip just days before he's set to become vice president.

The Delaware senator is making the trip later this week in his capacity as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, a post he has to resign before becoming vice president on Jan. 20.

For security reasons, his Senate office did not disclose details of the itinerary, saying they would be released as the trip proceeds. His office wouldn't say which countries he would visit, but the geographic description suggests they could include such places as Afghanistan, Pakistan or India.

Joining Biden will be Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the incoming chairman of the committee. Also accompanying the vice president-elect will be Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Collins and Graham are members of the Armed Services Committee.

A statement from Biden's office said the trip was designed to help with upcoming reviews that the executive and legislative branches will be taking in coming months of U.S. policy toward the region.

Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said in the statement that the delegations "will make it clear to foreign leaders that they are not there to speak on behalf of the U.S. government, or convey policy positions for the incoming administration." But Biden's new status is sure to create intense interest with leaders of the countries he is visiting.

Alexander did not respond to questions about why Biden thought it was important to make the trip so close to the inauguration.