World News

Biden: US 'Deeply Concerned' at China's Air Defense Zone

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is expressing renewed concern over China's newly declared air defense zone, as he begins his Asia trip with talks in Tokyo.

Biden told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that Washington remains "deeply concerned" at the zone, which includes islands also claimed by U.S. ally Japan.

The U.S. leader said the move underscores the need for China and Japan to "establish crisis management and confidence building measures to lower tensions."

Biden met early Tuesday with Japan's deputy prime minister, Taro Aso. Later, he meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, before heading to Beijing on Wednesday.



Tomohiko Taniguchi, an Abe aide, tells VOA Washington and Tokyo agree on how to handle the situation with Beijing, which he called serious.



"This is no longer an issue between Japan and China because the zone covers the vast majority of the East China Sea. It's the most serious challenge to internationally accepted norms for freedom of movement in the sky and freedom of navigation in the sea."



Some in Japan want the U.S. to take a stronger position on the island dispute. The U.S. does not take an official position, but officials say the islands do fall under a treaty obligating Washington to defend Japan if attacked.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that he is confident that Biden will deliver a strong message when he visits Beijing.



"We have tightened the U.S.-Japan alliance since China set the air identification zone and I think (Biden) will tell China that China's actions will unilaterally change the region's status and that this action is dangerous and that it will not be accepted."



The U.S. has repeatedly rejected the Chinese zone. Last week, it flew two unarmed B-52 bombers on "routine" training missions through the area, ignoring Chinese demands they identify themselves.

But Washington officials have recommended U.S. commercial airlines comply with China for the safety and security of passengers. Some view this as a concession of Chinese sovereignty.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday insisted this is not the case, saying the U.S. continues to "not accept the legitimacy of China's requirements."

A White House statement also said that Biden will raise the air defense zone issue when he meets this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials.

On Tuesday, the Communist Party-controlled Global Times said in an editorial if Biden "wants a successful trip" to China, he will be careful not to express open support for Tokyo's claims.

Biden's stop in Tokyo is the first on a six-day tour of Asia. He will head to South Korea Thursday, which has also been angered by China's declared air defense zone.

He is expected to meet with President Park Geun-hye and visit the demilitarized zone with the North before returning to Washington.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs