Kerry urges China to be 'transparent' on new air defence zones
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on February 14, 2014 - by Evan Vucci
"We urged our friends in China to adhere to the highest standards of notice, engagement, involvement, information sharing," Kerry told reporters in Beijing following meetings with top Chinese leaders.
In November, Beijing drew condemnation from Tokyo and Seoul as well as Washington with its move to declare an "air defence identification zone" (ADIZ), over territory in the East China Sea that is also claimed by Japan.
Beijing requires aircraft flying through its ADIZ to identify themselves and maintain communication with Chinese authorities, but the zone is not a claim of sovereignty.
Some media reports have suggested that China is planning to expand its influence in the skies above the South China Sea as well -- where its territorial claim overlaps with several other countries.
A US State Department official last week drew Beijing's ire by warning against such a move.
"We made clear our feelings on any unilateral announcement," Kerry told reporters Friday after a day of meetings with Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
On the South China Sea, Kerry said that he hopes China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations make "rapid strides in negotiating the code of conduct ... that would reduce tensions".
"We encourage steps by everybody, not just China, to avoid all kinds of provocation and work through the legal tools available," he said.
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