BEIJING, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday a visit from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is an opportunity to establish a level of mutual trust.
"Both countries should cement trust, efficiently control differences and facilitate new progress of our relations," the spokesman was quoted by China's official Xinhua News Agency as saying Tuesday.
Biden is scheduled to arrive Wednesday in Beijing. His visit comes amid growing tensions over a unilateral decision by China to establish an air defense zone in the East China Sea.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a Monday press conference Biden would urge his Chinese counterparts to avoid any actions that would raise tensions or lead to a strategic miscalculation.
"This is an opportunity for Vice President Biden to raise our concerns directly with policymakers in Beijing and to seek clarity regarding the Chinese intentions in making this move at this time," Carney said.
Beijing said Monday the air defense zone was a self-defense measure. Parts of the air defense zone extend over the Diaoyu Islands, territory disputed with Japan.
Beijing said it wants notification before aircraft fly through the air defense zone. The U.S., Japanese and South Korean militaries flew their aircraft through the region without notifying Chinese authorities, Voice of America reports.
The United States is obligated by treaty to defend Japanese interests.