Visiting US Vice-President Joe Biden has stressed on trust as the basis of relations between Washington and Beijing during his meeting with the country’s top leadership amid increasing tension over a Chinese maritime defence zone.
Biden flew to Beijing on Wednesday after meeting top Japanese leaders in Tokyo where he detailed discussions on the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea.
Japan and South Korea have registered strong protests against the Chinese ADIZ.
Biden’s visit to the three countries – he flies to Seoul on Thursday – is being seen as the US’s efforts to mediate between the three counties as diplomatic tempers and rhetoric run high over the ADIZ.
“Candor generates trust. Trust is the basis on which real change, constructive change, is made,” Biden was quoted as having told President Xi Jinping.
Agency reports quoted Biden as saying that in developing “…this new relationship, both qualities are sorely needed.”
Xi told Biden the international situation and regional landscape was “undergoing profound and complex changes”.
“Regional issues keep cropping up and there are more pronounced global challenges such as climate change and energy security. The world is not tranquil,” he added.
Biden was greeted on Wednesday by a strongly worded editorial in the state media.
Biden should “not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government's previous erroneous and one-sided remarks.”
“If the US is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo's dangerous brinkmanship. It must stop emboldening belligerent Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to constantly push the envelope of Japan's encroachments and provocations,” the editorial in the official newspaper, China Daily said.
The defence ministry said in a statement that the ADIZ was not aimed at any specific country or target, and it certainly does not constitute a threat towards any country or region.
At least 55 airlines from 19 countries were cooperating with China's request to report flight plans and identify themselves in the zone.
“China has gained understanding from an increasing number of countries over the establishment of the zone. People have come to realize it is a safe and cooperative, rather than risky and confrontational area,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei said.
The US, Japan and South Korea have flown air force and civilian aircraft through the zone without informing the Chinese authorities. But last week, Washington advised airlines to share flight plans with China.
“We are willing to keep in touch with relevant parties over technical issues and maintain flight safety and order, on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Hong said.
He reiterated China's ADIZ is aimed to defending its national sovereignty, territorial and airspace security, as well as safeguarding flight safety and is in accord with international laws and practices.