Biden arrives in China amid tensions

Joe Biden should not repeat “erroneous remarks” on China’s new air zone, Chinese state media warned, as the US vice-president arrived in Beijing.

Mr Biden is in Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

His visit to Asia has been dominated by a row over China’s newly-declared air zone, which covers islands controlled by Japan.

Mr Biden arrived from Tokyo, where he reaffirmed the US alliance with Japan.

During his visit, Mr Biden will attend an official welcome ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People and visit China’s leadership compound, known as Zhongnanhai.

In addition to meetings with China’s president and premier, Mr Biden will also meet Li Yuanchao, China’s vice-president.

Mr Biden has said he will raise concerns over China’s new air zone “in great specificity” when he meets China’s leaders.

China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month, and said aircraft flying through the zone must follow its rules, including filing flight plans.

The ADIZ covers islands claimed and controlled by Japan, and a submerged rock claimed by South Korea.

The US, Japan and South Korea have rejected China’s zone, and flown undeclared military aircraft through the ADIZ.

On Friday, China scrambled fighter jets to monitor US and Japanese planes flying in the area.

Tokyo has told its national carriers not to file flight plans with the Chinese side when transiting the zone, but on Friday the US said it expected its carriers to “operate consistent with Notams [Notices to Airmen] issued by foreign countries”.

This did not indicate “US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly-declared ADIZ”, the state department said.

Speaking in Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Biden said the US was “deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”

‘Taking sides’

On Wednesday, Chinese state media criticised Mr Biden’s comments.

“Washington has obviously taken Japan’s side,” state-run newspaper¬†China Daily¬†said in an editorial.

“If the US is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo’s dangerous brinkmanship,” it said, adding that Mr Biden should not simply repeat the US’s “previous erroneous and one-sided remarks.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said this week that the zone “is not aimed at any specific country or target, and it certainly does not constitute a threat towards any country or region.”

China’s military is “fully capable of exercising effective control” over the zone, Mr Geng added.