"China has gained understanding from an increasing number of countries over the establishment of the zone. People have come to realize it is a safe and cooperative, rather than risky and confrontational area," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. (Agencies)
Hong said that 55 airlines from 19 countries have reported their flight plans to fly through its controversial Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea.
Hong's comment came after Biden arrived here today after meeting ally Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At a joint press conference with Abe on Tuesday, Biden said he would raise Washington's concerns over the air zone "in great specificity... when I meet with the Chinese leadership".
Biden expressed US' deep concern over "attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea". "This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation. We are closely consulting with our allies on this matter here in Japan and in Korea which I will soon visit, later this week," he said.
China has accused the US and Japan- which both have ADIZs - of double standards, saying the real provocateur is Tokyo.
"This is a hugely consequential relationship that is going to affect the course of the 21st century," Biden said after being welcomed by his counterpart Li Yuanchao.
Their ties will become the "central, sort of, organizing principle in international relations for a long time", the US Vice President said.
"Like all complex relationships, it calls for sustained, high-level engagement," Biden said, adding he believed President Xi was committed "to managing our differences candidly and constructively."
China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month, and said aircraft flying through the zone must follow its rules, including filing flight plans.
The ADIZ covers islands claimed and controlled by Japan, and a submerged rock claimed by South Korea. The US, Japan and South Korea have rejected the zone, and flown undeclared military aircraft through it, prompting China to scramble its airforce jets to monitor them.
US however instructed its civilian airlines to comply with the Chinese rules. "We are willing to keep in touch with relevant parties over technical issues and maintain flight safety and order, on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Hong said.
He claimed China's ADIZ is aimed to defend its national sovereignty, territorial and airspace security, as well as safeguarding flight safety.
Hong also criticised Japan for unilaterally escalating regional tension, urging it to respect China's legitimate rights, stop provocation and make efforts to improve bilateral ties and regional stability.
"China has gained understanding from an increasing number of countries over the establishment of the zone. People have come to realize it is a safe and cooperative, rather than risky and confrontational area," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.