UPDATE 1-Biden says China's airspace zone has caused apprehension
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BEIJING, Dec 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that China's announcement of an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea had caused apprehension in the region, and that he was firm about the U.S. stance on the move during talks in Beijing.
Biden had around five hours of discussions with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, with both leaders laying out their perspective on an issue that has rattled countries in East Asia.
"China's recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defence identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region," Biden told a gathering of U.S. executives in Beijing.
"I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi."
Beijing's decision to declare the zone in an area that includes disputed islands with Japan has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Biden said Washington had a profound stake in what happens in the region because it "is a fact" that the United States will remain an economic and military power in Asia.
China's stake in regional stability would also continue to grow, he added.
"That's why China will bear increasing responsibility to contribute positively to peace and security. That means taking steps to reduce the risk of accidental conflict and miscalculation ... and refraining from taking steps that would increase tension," Biden said.
Biden heads to South Korea later on Thursday.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Dean Yates)