US Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Beijing amid rising tension between China and Japan over the recently declared air-defence zone in the East China Sea.
As Biden continues his Asia tour, finishing his stopover in Tokyo, Chinese state media welcomed the American leader with a warning not to repeat the "erroneous remarks" that he made in Japan.
Biden is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vice President Li Yuanchao and Premier Li Keqiang.
Biden enjoys a friendly relationship with the Chinese President, developed during Xi's tenure as vice president.
China had earlier declared a new air-defence zone in the East China Sea comprising the disputed chain of islands, which Beijing calls Diaoyu and Japan Senkaku, adding a new dimension to the territorial row.
In Japan, Biden promised he will discuss the ongoing tensions with the Chinese leadership and vowed to uphold Washington's alliance with Japan.
Criticising Biden's remarks China Daily, a mouthpiece of the Community Party, wrote in an editorial: "Washington has obviously taken Japan's side. If the US is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo's dangerous brinkmanship."
Biden, however, had stopped short of urging China to annul the new air-defence zone.
On the eve of Biden's visit, Chinese defence ministry nonetheless sent mixed signals over the issue. Reiterating its stance on the zone, Beijing said the move was not aimed at "any specific country or target".
"China always respects other countries' freedom of overflight according to international laws, so that international flights that fly normally within the rules in the East China Sea ADIZ [Air Defence Identification Zone] will not be affected," said the ministry.
It added: "An ADIZ is essentially different from territorial airspace or no-fly zones. It is not a country's territorial airspace, but an international airspace demarcated outside the territorial airspace for the purpose of identification and early warning; it is not a no-fly zone."