American Vice President Joe Biden's long planned trip to Asia was supposed to showcase, to allies and friends (and fence-watchers), US resolve and reliability, especially with regard to its strategic "pivot to Asia" policy (whatever that means) and in its endorsement of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement (which China is not party to).
That was the US plan.
But most analysts agree that China has cleverly hijacked the agenda with its Nov 23 declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over areas that overlap with Japan's ADIZ (in place since the 1960s). South Korea is scrambling to come up with its own ADIZ, expected to overlap with Japan's and China's newly declared one.
Let's start with Biden's meeting with hand-clasping back-slapping treaty ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:
Was Mr Abe expecting Mr Biden to tell China "I don't care if Japan has an ADIZ, I don't care if we have ADIZs on both sides of continental USA, all around Hawaii and God knows where else, when Uncle Sam says you are not to all of a sudden decide to have an ADIZ, you quietly comply... or else!"
Or, maybe, Mr Biden was expected to tell the Chinese leaders they should know their place, ie, to put it in Hokkien: "Mai boh tua boh sway!" (I don't know if there's a Mandarin equivalent.)
But, as the report above in TODAY (Dec 4) shows, and despite the promising headline, Mr Biden merely made reassuring NATO (no action, talk only) noises.
Meanwhile, ahead of Mr Biden's next itinerary, the China Daily was already giving him a tongue-lashing, as reported in TIME (Dec 4):
Chinese Paper to Biden: ‘Straighten Out’ Your Facts
After Mr Biden's meeting with the Chinese leaders, Global Times, that cheeky Chinese publication, merely (and gleefully) reported -- with nary a single reference to China's ADIZ:
Chinese VP meets with Biden
Mr Biden goes on to South Korea next. I await what the headlines will declare.