US stops short of asking China to rescind air zone
US Vice President Joe Biden (R) chats with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before heading to their meeting at the Zhongnanhai diplomatic compound in Beijing on December 5, 2013
The White House instead called on Beijing not to "implement" the zone covering a part of the East China Sea, and repeated its stance that it did not recognize Beijing's "provocative" move.
China's declaration of the zone has sparked fears that a miscommunication could spark a military confrontation between its forces and other powers and dominated a regional tour this week by US Vice President Joe Biden.
"We call on China not to implement it," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Carney dismissed the notion that his linguistic formulation suggested Washington would accept a situation whereby Beijing did not formally rescind the zone -- a move that would be seen as a loss of face -- but did not actively enforce it.
"I think you're looking for nuance and semantics that aren't really there," Carney said.
"We, the United States, do not recognize it, and we do not accept it, and it will not change how the US conducts military operations in the region," Carney said.
Biden spelled out the US line on the zone, in which Beijing says all aircraft must obey its instructions, in meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
A US official traveling with Biden said earlier that it was up to China to take action "to avoid the risk of mistake, miscalculation, accident or escalation."
China's decision to declare the zone in an area which includes disputed islands provoked anger in the region and prompted the United States, Japan and South Korea to fly military and paramilitary aircraft through the area.
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