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Asia-pacific

US seeks China alliance 'based on trust', Biden says

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-04

US Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a new model of cooperation “based on trust” in remarks on Wednesday following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping that were aimed partly at easing East Asian tensions over a disputed island chain.

US Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a new model of cooperation that is “based on trust” in remarks to reporters on Wednesday, following a private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

“This new model of major-country cooperation ultimately has to be based on trust, and a positive notion about the motives of one another,'' Biden said.

Biden told Xi that the bilateral relationship between Washington and Beijing will affect "the course of the 21st century".

Biden said he came to Beijing because complex relationships require candour and sustained engagement.

“Candour generates trust,” Biden said. “Trust is the basis on which real change – constructive change – is made.”

Biden's trip comes amid new tensions between China and Japan over Beijing’s decision to declare an "air defence identification zone" over the East China Sea that includes a string of disputed islands also claimed by Japan. China declared late last month that any planes flying through the zone must file flight plans with Beijing.

The United States has refused to recognise the declared zone but has avoided publicly calling for Beijing to back down.

'Regional tensions'

The US flew unarmed B-52 bombers over the newly declared zone just days after it was announced, followed a day later by Japanese and South Korean aircraft. China responded by sending fighter jets into the zone as a "defensive measure", its air force said.

Biden avoided public comment on the island dispute while in the Chinese capital. But he said a day earlier on a visit to Tokyo that the Chinese move had heightened regional tensions.

“This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation,” Biden said Tuesday following a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

China has accused Washington of taking Japan’s side in the controversy.

An editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper accused Washington of “turning a blind eye to Tokyo’s provocations”, saying that Japan’s actions were the “root cause" of the tensions.

"Biden needs to be reminded that Japan holds the key to peacefully solving the East China Sea dispute, because it is the Abe administration's recalcitrant denial of the existence of a dispute that has prevented Beijing and Tokyo from conducting meaningful communication and crisis control," the paper said.

China has repeatedly said the zone was declared to reduce misunderstandings and stressed that there have been no issues with freedom of flight for civilian airlines.

'Challenging the status quo'

In a speech earlier on Wednesday, Biden urged Chinese youth to challenge the system.

“I hope you learn that innovation can only occur where you can breathe free, challenge the government, challenge religious leaders,” he told a group of young Chinese waiting for visitor visas at the US embassy.

"Children in America are rewarded – not punished – for challenging the status quo,'' he said.

Biden and Xi had a second meeting involving larger delegations and a working dinner planned for later on Wednesday.

The US vice president heads to South Korea for talks on Thursday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2013-12-04

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