China's declaration in late November of an "air defense zone"
around disputed islands claimed by both China and Japan in the
East China Sea has triggered turmoil in the region.
The issue dominated a trip to Japan, China and South Korea that
Biden made early this month.
In the phone call with Abe, Biden reaffirmed that the United
States does not recognize the so-called air defense zone and
that the announcement will in no way affect U.S. military
operations in the East China Sea.
Biden reiterated U.S. support for steps to reduce regional
tensions, such as new bilateral mechanisms for crisis
"The vice president also reinforced the importance of trilateral
security cooperation among the United States, Japan and the
Republic of Korea, and noted our continued support for improved
relations between Tokyo and Seoul," a statement from Biden's
The two leaders also discussed negotiations aimed at achieving a
Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and agreed on the need
to resolve sensitive issues, including on agriculture and autos,
Biden's office said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by G Crosse)
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