Washington: Chinese move to establish an air defence zone not only causes friction and uncertainty, but also constitutes a unilateral change to the status quo in the region, which is already fraught.
This is the message Vice President Joe Biden would be conveying to the top Chinese leadership when he travels to Beijing next week, a top administration official said today.
Biden travels to China, Japan and South Korea next week.
"We have real concerns with this move by the Chinese because it raises serious questions about their intentions... It increases the risk of miscalculation and the risk of accidents," the official said.
During his trip to the region, Biden would make it clear that the US has a rock-solid commitment with its allies.
"At the same time, the US also believes that the lowering of tensions and the avoiding of escalation in this region, when you`re talking about the second and third largest economies in the world, is profoundly and deeply in the American national interest. And he`ll be carrying those messages with him throughout his trip," the official said.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said that in China, Biden will have an opportunity to make clear to the Chinese leadership about the concerns the US has over `East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone`.
"The underlying point here is that the strains caused by a series of actions by China in its relations with its Asian neighbors is not a good thing. It`s not a good thing for the United States, it`s not a good thing for anyone. This visit allows the Vice President to discuss the issue of how China operates in international space, and how China deals with areas of disagreement with its neighbors," the official said.
Noting that this is about international air space, the official said: "We`re not talking about overflights of sovereign territory, and so there is legitimate interest by the United States, as well as by the international community in as much as commercial airlines and civil aircraft and in some cases military aircraft routinely overfly the area that is bounded by the ADIZ that China has declared.
"In the first instance there is a need for China to clarify its intentions, to answer a number of questions that this move generates, both as a civil aviation matter, but also as a strategic matter.”
"I think the US commitment to the alliance with Japan and the alliance with the Republic of Korea - both countries whose own existing air defense information zones, zones that have existed and functioned effectively for decades - that our commitment to our allies is beyond question."
According to the official, the visit allows Biden to make the broader point that there is an emerging pattern of behavior by China that is unsettling to its own neighbors, and raising questions about how China operates in international space and how it deals with areas of disagreement with them.
"The Vice President is not traveling to Beijing to deliver a demarche, let alone on a single issue... He`s going to have a very high-level and a very wide-ranging dialogue with top Chinese leadership that covers a wide range of shared interests, along with areas of concern, areas of cooperation and areas of de-confliction," the official said.