Continuing his Eastern Asia visit, Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about China’s latest attempt to control an air-zone over disputed islands with Japan. The men talked for five hours, “without resolving the rising international tensions over China’s declaration of a new air-defense zone, leaving questions over the next moves for each power and U.S. allies,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Both the Times and the Journal reported about Biden’s attempt to offer political advice to the President. The Journal article utilized a much gentler tone compared to the Times article, that used such language as “shuttling from one feuding neighbor to the other…” and opening their article with the following:
“Chinese leaders pushed back at visiting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday over what they assert is their right to control a wide swath of airspace in the bitterly contested East China Sea. But the Chinese also indicated that they had not decided how aggressively to enforce their so-called air defense identification zone, which has ignited tensions with Japan.”
The same situation told with different language and tone can make a huge difference in how a reader interprets a story.
Biden’s overall main goal was to simply talk and advise the Chinese President, as stated from the Journal:
“As part of his argument in favor of reducing tensions, Mr. Biden told Mr. Xi that China should adopt a series of measures to restore trust and confidence among neighbors in the region, including by establishing a system of emergency communications, or hot lines, that would rapidly connect officials from China and Japan, and possibly other countries.”
Both articles were fairly long, with the Journal article totaling around 900 words. The Times article was even more, taking up two different (web) pages. Normally Vice President Biden doesn’t get so much attention in the press, but this trip could aid in solving an international issue. Plus, Japan is a U.S. ally.
“The most urgent thing is, we want them to work with Japan and South Korea directly to do confidence-building measures,” said a senior administration official from the Journal.
Being the Vice President, Biden did try to be as diplomatic and courteous as possible.
“Mr. Biden stopped short of calling on China to rescind the zone, something it is highly unlikely to do, given the nationalist sentiments that have been animated by its standoff with Japan. The American military has ignored the zone, sending B-52 bombers last week to fly through it,” the Times reported.
The impact of this story potentially involves all American citizens, whether they are aware of the conflict or not.
While most international issues get shrugged off as not important, a majority of foreign conflicts begin as little problems that go unresolved, and build up to even larger conflicts.
The truth is seen throughout both of these stories. Neither the White House or Vice President Biden are being transparent about the trip’s intended goals, but are still being politically correct and diplomatic concurrently.