Biden in China amid Asia tensions over air zone

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Posted  Wednesday, December 4   2013 at  13:14

Joe Biden should not repeat "erroneous remarks" on China's new air zone, Chinese state media warned, as the US vice-president arrived in Beijing.

Mr Biden is in Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

His visit to Asia has been dominated by a row over China's newly-declared air zone, which covers islands controlled by Japan.

Mr Biden arrived from Tokyo, where he reaffirmed the US alliance with Japan.

Mr Biden attended an official welcome ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People where he met China's Vice-President Li Yuanchao, and said China and the US should expand practical co-operation and deliver results.

On Thursday he will visit China's leadership compound, known as Zhongnanhai.

While in Tokyo, Mr Biden said he would raise concerns over China's new air zone "in great specificity" during meetings with China's leaders.

Mr Biden and Mr 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.

On Friday, China scrambled fighter jets to monitor US and Japanese planes flying in the area.

Tokyo has told its national carriers not to file flight plans with the Chinese side when transiting the zone, but on Friday the US said it expected its carriers to "operate consistent with Notams [Notices to Airmen] issued by foreign countries".

This did not indicate "US government acceptance of China's requirements for operating in the newly-declared ADIZ", the state department said.

Speaking in Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Biden said the US was "deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea."

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