China gives no ground to Biden in air zone dispute

China gives no ground to Biden in air zone dispute

By JOSH LEDERMAN

BEIJING (AP) – Giving no ground, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traded strong arguments Wednesday over China’s contentious new air defense zone, with little indication of progress toward defusing a situation that is raising anxieties across Asia and beyond.

Though Biden made clear the deep concern of the U.S. and other countries during the 5  1/2 hours of talks – themselves highly unusual for an American vice president and Chinese president – Xi vigorously made his case, too, for China’s declaration of new rules concerning a strip of airspace more than 600 miles long above disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Speaking to American business leaders here the next morning, Biden said he had been “very direct” about the firm U.S. position and Washington’s expectations for Beijing in his conversation with Xi.

“China’s recent and sudden announcement of a new air defense identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Biden said.

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