Vice President Biden said during his visit to Tokyo on Tuesday that the United States is “deeply concerned” by China’s new air defense zone.
At a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Biden said, "This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation."
The new zone — which the U.S. and Japan don’t recognize — is positioned above a set of tiny islands that both China and Japan claim as their own. Allies are worried this move represents an effort by China to gain more power in the region.
Japan has been pressuring the U.S. to take its side in this fight over the zone and the islands. The zone spans 600 miles from north to south, and China is requiring aircraft to warn its government in advance before traveling through it. As a result, China has dispatched fighter jets to monitor flights in the area.
Biden on Wednesday flies to Beijing, where he’ll discuss concerns over the air defense zone with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“This is an opportunity for Vice President Biden to raise our concerns directly with policymakers in Beijing and to seek clarity regarding the Chinese intentions in making this move at this time,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday. “We do not accept the legitimacy of China’s requirements.”