China urges US to respect air zone

BEIJING — Chinese leaders urged the United States to respect the establishment of a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) with an "objective and fair attitude," the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The call to respect the zone was made during talks with US Vice President Joe Biden, who met President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao on Wednesday, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Biden was scheduled to meet Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday after telling Xi that US leaders "don't recognize the zone, that we have deep concerns about it," a US official said.

Biden "indicated to Xi that we are looking to China to take steps to lower tensions," including the opening of communication with Japan, the official said.

Declared on November 23, the zone covers the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which lie near oil and gas reserves and are claimed by China as the Diaoyu and Taiwan as the Tiaoyutai.

In a commentary on Biden's visit on Thursday, the official China Daily said Beijing and Washington "must address their conspicuous 'trust deficit'."

"The US reaction to China's ADIZ is only the latest reminder of how difficult it is for the two nations to overcome their distrust," it said.

Zhou Yongsheng, an expert on Japan at the China Foreign Affairs University, said Western criticisms of the air zone are "arrogant, groundless and show double standards."

"There is no need for China to surrender to the pressure, not to mention the fact that China now has the strength to stand up to provocations," Zhou said in a commentary for the state-run Global Times newspaper.

Chinese officials on Wednesday said the zone over the East China Sea was part of China's "justifiable self-defence" and that the country's military was "fully capable of exercising control" over it.

Biden held talks in Tokyo on Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was scheduled to travel to Seoul later Thursday to meet South Korean leaders, who have also expressed concern about China's move.

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