BEIJING (REUTERS) - US Vice President Joe Biden should not expect to make much progress in defusing tensions over the East China Sea if he plans to repeat "erroneous and one-sided remarks" on the issue when he visits China, a state-run newspaper said on Wednesday.
Beijing's decision to declare an air defence identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea and dominated Mr Biden's talks in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The United States has made clear it will stand by treaty obligations that require it to defend the Japanese-controlled islands, but it is also reluctant to get dragged into any military clash between rivals Japan and China.
Mr Biden is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao in Beijing on Wednesday before flying to Seoul later in the week.
But he "should not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government's previous erroneous and one-sided remarks", the English-language China Daily said in a strongly worded editorial.
"If the US is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo's dangerous brinkmanship. It must stop emboldening belligerent Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to constantly push the envelope of Japan's encroachments and provocations."
In Tokyo, Mr Biden called on Japan and China to find ways to reduce tensions, repeating Washington was "deeply concerned" by Beijing's Nov. 23 announcement of the zone.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday that China's decision was a provocative attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea and urged Beijing not to implement the zone.
He urged China to work with Japan and South Korea "to establish confidence-building measures, including emergency communications channels, to address the dangers its recent announcement has created and to lower tensions".
The United States and Japan do not recognise China's air defence zone and US military aircraft have been instructed to continue to operate normally in the area. Japanese commercial carriers have also been told by the government in Tokyo to ignore Chinese demands to identify themselves before entering.
The China Daily said it was obvious Washington had taken Tokyo's side in the dispute.
"Biden needs to be reminded that Japan holds the key to peacefully solving the East China Sea dispute, because it is the Abe administration's recalcitrant denial of the existence of a dispute that has prevented Beijing and Tokyo from conducting meaningful communication and crisis control," it said.
China wants Japan first to acknowledge that a formal dispute over sovereignty exists, experts say, a step that Tokyo has rejected for fear it would undermine its claim over the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
"Again, our timely visitor needs to be told: It is Japan that has unilaterally changed the status quo... China is just responding to Japanese provocations."