US Vice President Joe Biden expressed his country’s concerns with China’s newly established air defense identification zone (ADIZ) during ‘lengthy’ talks with Xi Jinping while in Beijing yesterday, urging Xi to ‘show restraint’ in the restricted zone, which he believes to be a provocation that does not conform to international standards.
“The vice-president laid out our position in detail. He indicated that we don’t recognize the zone, that we have deep concerns,” a US official was quoted as saying in a report by SCMP.
The official added that Biden told Xi “we are looking to China to take steps to reduce tensions,” according to the report.
Biden arrived in Beijing from Tokyo on Wednesday and took part in various topics of discussion with China’s president, including the nuclear deal struck with Iran last month, which China played a key role in.
However, discussion regarding China’s control of airspace over contested parts of the East China Sea remained vague and concluded seemingly with little outcome, according to the NY Times.
After 5½ hours of meetings, in which Mr. Biden laid out the American case against China’s action and Mr. Xi made a forceful counterargument, senior administration officials said, “President Xi took on board what the vice president said. It’s up to China, and we’ll see how things will unfold in the coming days and weeks.”
Mr. Xi’s response suggested China and Japan may be able to manage a standoff that had threatened to escalate dangerously, with China scrambling fighter jets to intercept Japanese airliners flying off the Chinese coast.
Xi reportedly welcomed Biden, whom he’d cultivated a relationship with while serving as China’s vice president, as “my old friend” and took to a broader topic instead, calling for a closer cooperation and dialogue with America, while Biden stated in public briefings that the relationship between the two countries “ultimately has to be based on trust, and a positive notion about the motive of one another”.
During his time in Tokyo on Tuesday, Biden publicly expressed his concerns over China’s actions which he said were an effort to “unilaterally change the status quo” and promised to bring up these concerns with Xi while in Beijing.
Washington has criticised Beijing for unilaterally establishing the air defence zone without prior consultation. It also said Chinese rules for the zone do not conform to international norms. Beijing insists it has the right to set up the zone, as a means of self-defence, in the way that neighbours including Japan and South Korea have already established such zones.
According to a report by Xinhua, 55 airlines have already provided flight plans to China since the ADIZ announcement on November 23.
Before his meeting with Xi, Biden made an appearance at the American Embassy in Beijing and encouraged Chinese visa applicants to “challenge their government” over the issuing of visas, specifically students, according to Reuters.
“Innovation can only occur when you can breathe free, challenge the government, challenge your teachers, challenge religious leaders,” Biden said.
The US vice president is set to arrive in South Korea on Friday.