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US Vice President Joe Biden in China amid air defense row

US Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in China for talks amid regional tension over the country’s new air defense zone. He had expressed concern over Beijing's attempt to "change the status quo" in the East China Sea.

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Biden in China as regional dispute simmers

Vice President Biden arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao. The ongoing territorial dispute in the East China Sea is likely to dominate talks between the leaders.

Ahead of his two-day visit, China's military warned Tokyo and Washington that it is "fully capable of exercising control" of the air defense zone over the region, which it announced on November 23.

"The Chinese military's determination and volition to safeguard the security of national territory and territorial airspace are unwavering, and the military is fully capable of exercising effective control over the East China Sea ADIZ," defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement. "A very few countries' insistence on not reporting flight plans is not beneficial, nor responsible," Geng said.

The US, Japan and South Korea have all said their military aircraft had crossed the zone without reporting to Chinese authorities as demanded by Beijing.

The zone covers a string of disputed islands known as the Senkakus in Japan and as the Diayou in China. The islands, which lie near oil and gas reserves, are the center of a long-running dispute for sovereignty between China, Japan and Taiwan, where they are known as the Tiaoyutai.

Biden is in China on his second leg of a three-nation Asia tour, which kicked off in Tokyo. Following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he said Washington was "deeply concerned by the unilateral attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea."

Biden is scheduled to travel to Seoul on Thursday for talks with South Korean leaders, who have also expressed concern over China's move.

hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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