News / Asia

US, China Emphasize Cooperation, Dialogue Amid Defense Zone Dispute

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 4, 2013.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 4, 2013.
The United States and China are talking about the need for cooperation and dialogue as visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and China's president, Xi Jinping met in the Chinese capital. Among other issues, the two discussed the dispute over China's declaration of an air defense zone over islands administered by Japan. When they met with journalists, though, neither Biden nor Xi brought up the matter.

In a careful diplomatic dance, Xi and Biden talked openly about the challenges the two countries face in building a stronger relationship and trust. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the two did not specifically mention China's recent, controversial decision to create an air defense identification zone that has loomed over Biden's trip to Asia.

U.S. officials say Biden expressed Washington's concerns over China's new air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, during talks with Xi. The officials told reporters the vice president indicated the U.S. does not recognize the zone, while Xi laid out China's view on the matter.

In a brief encounter with reporters before their meeting, Xi spoke about the need for the United States and China, with two of the world's biggest economies, to cooperate and address a growing range of profound and complex challenges.

Air defense zones claimed by China and JapanAir defense zones claimed by China and Japan
Air defense zones claimed by China and Japan
Air defense zones claimed by China and Japan
Xi said the global economy has gone into a period of deep adjustment.

"The world economy has gone into a period of in-depth adjustment," he said. "Regional hotspot issues keep popping up, and there are more pronounced global challenges, such as climate change and energy security. The world is not tranquil.”

Xi said China is willing and ready to work together with the United States to build a new model of great power relations. He also stressed the need for each side to respect each other's core interests and major concerns - a phrase that frequently is used to refer to interests such as China's territorial claims.

Biden said the thing that impresses him about China's new leader is his candid and constructive approach to developing a new relationship with Washington. Biden said both qualities are sorely needed in the relationship.

"The way I was raised was to believe that change presents opportunity," he said. "Opportunity on regional security, on a global level, opportunity on climate change and energy, and a whole range of issues that the world needs to see change in the next decade or so."

China's decision to declare a new air defense identification zone off its northeastern coast is but one of many challenges the two sides are facing in forging that new relationship. Some, such as Beijing Foreign Studies University political scientist Xie Tao, believe the way the policy was unveiled was a mistake.

"If China really wants to build up a new model of great power relations, this is the last thing to do to build up a great power relationship. I think it is not controversial at all for China to establish this ADIZ," said Xie. "However, I think that international relations scholars and commentators both in China and outside of China agree that the timing and scope of the ADIZ are too controversial."

During Biden's first stop in Asia, the issue dominated discussions in Tokyo. While there, the vice president talked about the strength of Washington's close alliance with Japan and voiced deep U.S. concern about the air zone.

He promised to raise the issue "in great specificity" during his visits with Chinese leaders, including Xi.

Biden also has suggested that both sides establish "confidence-building measures, including emergency communications channels," to help reduce tensions. China says it is willing to discuss the issue with Japan, but asserts that certain countries are overreacting to its decision and are distorting the move.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China established the zone to safeguard its national security and did so in line with national laws. He said the United States and Japan should regard this in an objective way and that it is not China that has changed the status quo, but Japan.

“China’s establishment of the ADIZ is to safeguard China’s national security. It is in line with national law," he said. "Japan and the U.S. should regard this in an objective way. It is not China that has changed the status quo. It is Japan.”

City University of Hong Kong political science professor Joseph Cheng said Biden is trying to maintain a difficult balance by providing assurances to Washington's long-term ally Japan, while also stressing the importance of U.S.-China relations. He said the United States would like to act as a mediator between the two countries.

"A quiet mediating role is definitely welcomed, and I do believe that the vice president will act along these lines at this stage," he said. "A formal mediating role may be a little bit difficult because traditionally Chinese authorities do not want to involve a third country, especially a major power in a bilateral dispute."

Further dialogue also could be complicated by Japan's refusal to formally recognize a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea, something it views as a weakening of its position.

Cheng said that while all parties understand the dangers of war and the risks that escalating tensions pose, domestic pressures make it difficult for China and Japan to compromise.

"Obviously, on the part of China and Japan, both governments are very much under the pressure of domestic nationalism, and their leaders do not want to be seen as being weak in dealing with each other," he said.

In recent days, China has made efforts to ease tensions over the zone. On the eve of Biden's arrival, the Defense Ministry released a statement stressing the area is not a no-fly zone, nor is it a sign that China is expanding its territorial airspace. The statement said surveillance in the area remains necessary, but the use of fighter jets would not be necessary in most cases.

After visiting China on Wednesday, Biden will head to South Korea on Thursday, which also has 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.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jimbar from: philippines
December 04, 2013 9:25 PM
American leadership dangerously kowtow to Chinese whims and caprices, consequently emboldened the communist state to further push through with their hegemonic control and expansion in the large area of East Asia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs