United States Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to China, Japan and South Korea starting next week has taken a different turn from what was originally planned. Given the recent developments, the discussions will most likely be about China‘s recent announcement of their newly established air defence identification zone (ADIZ) which has heightened tensions in the region and strained relations with Japan even more.
Biden’s visit was originally going to be about economic issues but now it is expected to be mostly about the implications of their air defense zone, which overlaps with Japan’s own, particularly over the disputed islands of Senkaku/Diaoyu. U.S. senior administration officials say that when the VP meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, they will probably tackle “lowering tensions and advancing diplomacy.” Biden will also try to clarify the intention behind China’s implementation of rules for flying in the ADIZ, such as foreign aircraft identifying themselves when in their airspace, as well as submission of flight plans. However, the officials did not say that he will be demanding that they roll back the zone in the areas near the island. He will emphasize the need to “cool down” the situation in the East Asian region while also clearly stating that it is committed to supporting its ally, Japan.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called up his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera on Wednesday to reassure them that they have Washington’s “continued support” over the ongoing territorial issues with China. The Pentagon said Hagel reiterated that the “longstanding US policy” is to come to their aid in the event of an attack, and that “applies to the Senkaku Islands”. According to the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry also called up Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss the China issue. Kishida said that the ADIZ “cannot be allowed.”
[ via The Guardian ]
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