China on Tuesday said it hoped for new progress in relations with the United States as Vice-President Joe Biden heads to Beijing from Tokyo on Wednesday amid a raging dispute in the neighbourhood over the newly established Chinese maritime defence zone.
Sharp focus will be on Biden’s brief visit when he meets the top leadership of China to calm friction between China, Japan and South Korea on the issue.
American bombers were the first to fly through the Chinese Air Defence Identification Zone (AIDZ) without informing the Chinese authorities within days of Beijing announcing that it had been established over large swathes of the East China Sea, over islands in dispute with Japan.
Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese fighters followed soon after.
After the first few days, US appeared to have softened its reaction with Washington advising civilian airlines plying in the region to inform the Chinese about their flight plans and coordinates.
Japan, for one, has said its civilian airlines will continue to fly without informing China about any detail.
Biden has said that the US was “deeply concerned” about the zone.
“We remain deeply concerned by the announcement of a new Air Defense Identification Zone,” Biden said in written answers to the Asahi daily newspaper.
He urged both countries to lower tension on the issue. The US has also made it clear that it stands “by treaty obligations that would require it to defend the Japanese-controlled islands.”
When questioned on Tuesday about Biden's “deeply concerned” remarks in Tokyo about the ADIZ, foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei, said the :zone was established in order to defend China's territorial and airspace security, as well as safeguard flight order and security in the air.”
He added that China hopes to get understanding and coordination from countries concerned over the issue.
Hong said China hoped to make joint efforts with the U.S. to implement the consensus the two heads of state reached in building a new model of major-country relationship featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
“Both countries should cement trust, efficiently control differences and facilitate new progress of our relations,” said the spokesperson.
Human rights groups write to Biden to urge China to free jailed Noble Laureate
“We are writing to you on the eve of your upcoming visit to Beijing to encourage you to raise the case of former PEN President and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo with your counterparts, pressing them to release Liu Xiaobo from prison, as well as his wife, fellow poet and artist Liu Xia, from extralegal house arrest,” a joint letter of appeal from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Pen American Centre, said.
The letter said that as China continued its ascent as a global player, its leaders must understand that a fair legal and justice system that respects the inalienable human rights of its citizens is key to its internal stability.
“We understand that there are a plethora of important issues that you will be discussing when you are in Beijing, but we hope that this will be one of them. Please continue to raise Liu Xiaobo’s case at every available opportunity, and demand that authorities end all forms of repression and intimidation of his family, including freeing Liu Xia from extralegal house arrest,” the rights’ groups said.