China on Thursday asked the US to respect the newly established maritime air defence zone even as Vice-President Joe Biden told a meeting in Beijing that it had triggered unease in the region and that he had conveyed Washington’s strong objections on it to Beijing.
Biden met President Xi Jinping on Wednesday soon after flying in from Tokyo and had several hours of discussions with him; he is headed to Seoul next.
“China's recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defence identification zone (over the East China Sea) has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Reuters news agency quoted Biden as telling a gathering of US executives in Beijing.
“I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi,” Biden added.
But since setting up the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) on November 23, China has maintained it was well within Beijing’s right to do so.
Under the rules of the ADIZ, foreign airlines have to submit flight plans to Chinese authorities while flying over the zone.
Beijing's announcement triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea.
US, Japanese, and South Korean military aircraft were the first to breach the zone without informing local authorities.
In response, China's military has scrambled fighter jets on at least one occasion to monitor the movement of foreign aircraft.
Japanese and South Korean commercial carriers have also been told by their governments to ignore the rules. Three US airlines, acting on government advice, are notifying China of plans to transit the zone.
On Tuesday, China said at least 55 airlines from 19 countries have begun to share information about flights.
Responding to the US stand on the issue, China on Thursday urged the Washington to respect its establishment of the ADIZ with an objective and fair attitude.
Foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei, said in a written statement that China reiterated its principled position on the East China Sea ADIZ, and stressed that China's move is in line with international law and practice, and the US side should take an objective and fair attitude to respect the (establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ), Hong Lei said.
Chinese leaders and Biden had a candid, in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations and other major affairs of common concern, Hong said.
Hong said the most important consensus reached by the two sides is that both of them should strengthen dialogues, exchanges and cooperation to push forward the construction of a new model of major-country relations.