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Speaking in Seoul on Friday, following his meeting with Chinese leadership, Joe Biden said that the United States would not recognize Chinese jurisdiction over an air defense zone they established in the East China Sea.

Biden told reporters in a speech:

I was absolutely clear on behalf of my president: We do not recognize the zone. It will have no effect on American operations. None. Zero.

Biden's remarks echo the declaration made by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier in the day, when he said, "We, the United States, do not recognize and we do not accept it, and will not change the way the United States conducts military operations in the region."

The U.S. is obviously reluctant to get dragged into any military conflict with China, despite the fact that they have a treaty with Japan to assist in protecting Japanese-controlled territory. Still though, Biden's comments leave little room for interpretation as to whether they plan on ceding to Chinese territory claims.

Now the ball appears to be in China's court as to whether or not they will enforce regulations that require all flights through the disputed area to be cleared with Chinese authorities beforehand. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, said that military operations in the region would remain unchanged.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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