China accused Japan of threatening regional stability Wednesday, less than two weeks after Beijing expanded its air defense zone around a group of East China Sea islands claimed by both Japan and China.
“Our neighbor, Japan, made irresponsible remarks on this issue, with an attempt to play it up, create frictions and damage regional stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said as Vice President Joe Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Japan has refused to recognize the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.
While the U.S. and Japan have expressed concern about China’s attempts to change the status quo in Asia, they have responded differently on how civilian airliners should operate in the new Chinese air defense zone.
The U.S. has asked its civilian airliners to inform the Chinese about flight plans. Japan has said its civilian aircraft should ignore the Chinese.
“All international flights, if operate normally in accordance with rules in the ADIZ, will not be affected at all and this is simply the reality,” he said.
He said the air defense zone is not a threat to regional peace but “a necessary measure to protect national sovereignty and territorial and airspace security.”
The U.S. does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands, but considers them under Japanese administrative control and under the protection of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty.