Biden arrives in China amid tensions over air defence zone

Biden arrives in China amid tensions over air defence zone

US Vice President Joe Biden arrived here today for meetings with top Chinese leaders amid an international spat over China's new air defense zone on the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Biden arrived from Tokyo where he expressed US concern over the Chinese Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) after talks with Japanese leaders.

His two-day visit here was planned well before the present tensions surfaced over the ADIZ covering East China Sea islands disputed with Japan.

Biden is due to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on a host of bilateral issues specially the ADIZ standoff.

Biden's visit is regarded significant he and Xi are said to enjoy a relatively close relationship.

China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month, and said aircraft flying through the zone must follow its rules, including filing flight plans.
The ADIZ covers islands claimed and controlled by Japan, and a submerged rock claimed by South Korea.

The US, Japan and South Korea have rejected China's zone, and flown undeclared military aircraft through the ADIZ.

Ahead of Biden's visit Chinese military, which has pressed its air force planes into the zone last night, issued a stiff statement, saying that its military has "unwavering" will to enforce it.

"Some people doubt China's monitoring capabilities in the East China Sea ADIZ. The Chinese military's determination and volition to safeguard the security of national territory and territorial airspace are unwavering, and the military is fully capable of exercising effective control over it," a Chinese Defence Ministry statement said.

Biden, before leaving for China held talks with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo yesterday and expressed US' deep concern over "attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea."     

"This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation. We are closely consulting with our allies on this matter here in Japan and in Korea which I will soon visit, later this week," he said.

Reacting to Biden's reamrks, Chinese military in strongly worded statement said "a very few countries must earnestly reflect on their actions and correct their wrong remarks and wrongdoings".

"Other parties concerned should also mind their words and actions, and should not do things to undermine regional stability and bilateral relations," it said.

Without directly naming the US, it said, "Other parties should not be incited, or send wrong signals to make a very few countries go further on the wrong track, which will follow the same old disastrous road and undermine regional and world peace."

Asserting that that its ADIZ was in line with the international laws and conventions, the statement clarified that the zone is not territorial airspace.

"Some people take the ADIZ to be a territorial airspace by falsely saying that China violates other countries' interests; some equate the ADIZ with a no-fly zone, accusing China of severely undermining the freedom of over flight. Both statements are incorrect. An ADIZ is essentially different from territorial airspace or no-fly zones," it said.

"The ADIZ is a zone of safety, not risks, a zone of cooperation, not competition. We are willing to conduct active communication and consultation with relevant parties to jointly safeguard flight safety and promote peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region," it said.

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