US vice-president Joe Biden called on Chinese leaders to take steps to lower tensions in east Asia and criticised China’s treatment of American journalists in a speech to members of the US business community in Beijing.
After more than four hours of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Mr Biden said he had been “very direct about our firm position” on China’s declaration of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea that has prompted denunciations from several of its neighbours.
“China’s recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defence identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Mr Biden told about 90 business people and journalists yesterday in Beijing. China needs to “take steps to reduce the risk of accidental conflict and miscalculation” and “refrain from taking steps that will increase tension”, he added.
But as with his appearance in Japan earlier this week, Mr Biden stopped short of calling on China to abolish the zone, which overlaps with a similar one established by Japan in the late 1960s and also includes a group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
“I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversation with President Xi but I also put this in a broader context – the Asia Pacific region will be the driver of the global economy in the 21st century and as China’s economy grows, its stake in regional security will continue to grow as well because it has so much more to lose.”
A US official travelling with Mr Biden said Mr Xi was “equally comprehensive [as Mr Biden] in laying out China’s perspective on the zone” and other regional security issues.
In his speech, Mr Biden said China’s treatment of US journalists was one area where Beijing and Washington have “profound dis-agreements”.
He did not elaborate but he was apparently referring to the blocking of US news websites such as the New York Times and Bloomberg and harassment of their journalists, some of whom have been refused visas to work in China. The problems began after both exposed the wealth accumulated by top Chinese leaders and their relatives.
虽然他没有细说，但他显然是在指中国屏蔽美国新闻媒体——如《纽约时报》(New York Times)和彭博(Bloomberg)——网站，以及骚扰它们记者的行为，其中一些记者的工作签证申请被中国拒绝。这两家媒体之前都报道过中国高层领导人及其家人如何聚敛财富，而后它们就遇到了麻烦。