US Vice President Joe Biden intends to visit China to raise concerns over its newly declared air defense zone in the East China Sea.
On a long-planned diplomatic mission to Asia, he will also visit South Korea and Japan, the White House has said.
Reporting a flight plan
In its statement announcing the air defense zone, China said all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities before crossing the area, which includes islands controlled by Japan.
The country declared all aircraft crossing the zone should follow its rules or face “emergency defensive measures.”
On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reaffirmed that a longstanding mutual defense treaty with Japan also applies to the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Air defense zone
The new air zone overlaps with an air zone announced by Japan and cover the islands that Japan controls.
The country has already lodged strong protest over what it claimed was an “escalation” by China.
For decades, the islands have been a source of tension between the two nations.