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Biden won't make headway in China if he repeats 'erroneous' remarks: paper

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden should not expect to make much progress in defusing tensions over the East China Sea if repeats "erroneous and one-sided remarks" on the issue during a visit to China, a top state-run paper said on Wednesday.

Beijing's decision to declare an air defense identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea and dominated Biden's talks in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The United States has made clear it will stand by treaty obligations that require it to defend the Japanese-controlled islands, but it is also reluctant to get dragged into any military clash between rivals Japan and China.

Biden, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao later in the day. He flies to Seoul on Thursday.

But he "should not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government's previous erroneous and one-sided remarks", the official English-language China Daily, often used by China to get its message across to the outside world, said in a strongly worded editorial.

"If the U.S. is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo's dangerous brinkmanship. It must stop emboldening belligerent Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to constantly push the envelope of Japan's encroachments and provocations."

All aircraft have to report flight plans to Chinese authorities, maintain radio contact and reply promptly to identification inquiries under the zone's rules.

U.S., Japanese and South Korean military aircraft have breached the zone without informing Beijing since it was announced on November 23. Japanese and South Korean commercial carriers have also been told by their governments to ignore the rules.

China has repeatedly said the zone was designed to reduce the risk of misunderstandings, and stressed that since it was set up there had been no issues with freedom of flight for civilian airlines.

The Defense Ministry on Tuesday slammed what it said were "distortions" and "mud throwing" over the zone and the country's intentions.

"It is not aimed at any specific country or target, and it certainly does not constitute a threat towards any country or region," ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement.

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Dec. 4.

(AP)

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