United States Vice President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have vowed to continue coordinating efforts over China’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that has threatened the stability of the region. However, they stopped short of calling on China to rescind the declaration of the zone that has overlapped with that of disputed territory in the East China Sea.
After the two met in Tokyo on Tuesday, they faced reporters and talked about the agreements they were able to reach. Abe said they both believe that China trying to change the status quo, particularly regarding the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, “unilaterally by force” is something that should not be tolerated. They also emphasized that the safety of civilian aircraft that passes through the ADIZ is of primary importance and they will not condone any action that would compromise that. However, there was no mention of the differences in the response of the two countries’ carriers, with Japan asking its commercial airlines not to submit flight plans to China while the U.S.’ airlines were allowed to do so.
Biden encouraged China and Japan to take on “crisis management mechanisms” and “effective channels of communication” so that there will be no danger of the situation escalating to an umanageable level. And while he expressed that they are “deeply concerned” with the whole situation, he did not call on China to revoke the ADIZ. He will be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he heads to Beijing on Wednesday, and said he will be talking with him “with great specificity, directly” when it comes to concerns over the zone.
With regards to other matters, Abe and Biden also discussed the stalled relocation of the Kadena Air Force Base also within Okinawa, with both determined to push through “as quickly as possible” in order to begin the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan as part of their bilateral agreement. Part of their plans to reduce the burden on the prefecture of hosting majority of the U.S. military personnel is to relax several restrictions on fishing and navigation within the training area off Okinawa‘s main island. Also discussed was Japan’s intent to finalize the free trade agreements as part of the U.S-led Trans Pacific Partnership by resolving several outstanding economic issues between the two countries.
[ via The Mainichi ]