Vice President Joe Biden, standing side by side with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Tuesday the United States remains “deeply concerned” about China’s new air defense zone comprising several hundred miles over a set of disputed islands.
The territory covers more than 600 miles above international waters that separate Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China. China is insisting that aircraft must notify the country before entering the space or face unspecified defensive measures.
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Neither the U.S., Japan, nor others recognize China’s defense zone above the islands claimed by China and Japan. Biden, The New York Times said
, accused China of trying to “unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”
An Associated Press report noted the vice president is coordinating with Japan
, South Korea, and others in formulating a response to China’s new claims.
“This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation,” Biden said. “I will be raising these issues with great specificity when I meet with Chinese leadership the day after tomorrow.”
China has long been criticized as intruding on the territorial rights of its neighbors. At a U.S. Naval Institute convention in San Diego this past January, a high-ranking Naval intelligence official lashed out at China for what he called its bellicose actions, USNI News reported.
Capt. Jim Fannell, deputy chief of staff for intelligence and operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters in Hawaii, told an audience at WEST 2013 that he is part of a team of officers who go over intelligence briefings every morning to review developments in the Asia/Pacific region.
“Every day, it’s about China,” Fannell said. “It’s about a China who is at the center of virtually every activity and dispute in the maritime domain in the East Asia region.” He went on to call China’s coast guard a “full-time harassment organization.”
Despite the dispute with China, the United States has advised commercial airlines to notify Chinese authorities of their flight plans when traveling through the air defense zone. It said at the time, however, that the decision did “not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China’s requirements.”
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