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.
William Ide
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
x
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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid