China media: US diplomacy

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with US Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 4, 2013.
Image caption Joe Biden (left) met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing

Papers discuss US Vice-President Jo Biden's diplomacy on the controversial air defence zone and British PM David Cameron's ping-pong and culinary adventures in Chengdu.

China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month over a group of islands claimed and controlled by Japan.

The zone includes disputed East China Sea islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in mainland China and Taiwan.

The front pages of official papers, including the Communist Party-backed People's Daily, are highlighting how Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated Beijing's "principled position" on its right to set up the air zone during talks with Mr Biden in Beijing on Wednesday.

However, the papers make no mention of Mr Biden telling Mr Xi that the US does not recognise the zone and wants Beijing to avoid escalating tensions.

The two sides also discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue and Syria, state media reported, without giving further details.

The two leaders were also silent on the air defence zone in a press briefing after the meeting.

"That Xi and Biden managed to keep their differences over the ADIZ out of the spotlight on Wednesday - there was no mention of it when the two spoke to reporters - was a sign that Beijing and Washington are indeed capable of managing their occasionally volatile ties," comments the China Daily.

Many official media outlets are also playing down the US and China's differences over ADIZ as a manageable issue that will not overshadow relations.

"China and the US have a more important agenda than the identification zone," stresses a front-page commentary on the People's Daily Overseas Edition.

'American-style freedom'

Meanwhile, Hong Kong newspapers the Ming Pao and the South China Morning Post report that Mr Biden encouraged students waiting for visas at the American embassy in Beijing to challenge the government, teachers and religious leaders on different issues.

"Children in America are rewarded - not punished - for challenging the status quo," he told a group of Chinese students.

"The only way you make something totally new is to break the mould of what was old," he said.

Beijing's state-run Global Times, however, dismisses Mr Biden's promotion of "American-style freedom" to the students as a "routine performance" of US visiting dignitaries in China.

In other news, the People's Daily voices displeasure at Japan's newly-established National Security Council (NSC).

The NSC reportedly discussed China's new air zone during its first meeting on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, the local press have been reporting on UK Prime Minister David Cameron's each and every move while he visited the southwest city of Chengdu.

The Chengdu Business Daily recounts with amusement how local school kids beat "Uncle Prime Minister" 4:3 in a friendly ping-pong match.

Mr Cameron also tried out the city's famous fiery chilli-red hotpots for his last dinner in China, according to local media reports.

"He loved coriander meatballs, he ordered two platters," a waitress working at the hotpot restaurant tells the Chengdu Business Daily.

"He seems to be really able to handle spicy foods too... The whole time, he only ate from the spicy hot pot," she adds.

Netizens in Chengdu even drew up a list of more exotic hotpot delicacies for Mr Cameron to try, such as pig brain and rabbit kidney, the Chengdu Evening News says

Meanwhile, netizens continue to bombard the UK prime minister's newly launched Weibo microblog account with questions and suggestions

Some users asked Mr Cameron about the recent divorce of Wendi Deng from media tycoon Robert Murdoch and also urged the PM to return treasures looted from imperial China, the Beijing Youth Daily reports.

In Hong Kong, the media are debating the launch on Wednesday of the government's five-month consultation to solicit public views on the city's 2016 Legislative Council election and 2017 election for chief executive.

The Apple Daily is concerned that Beijing's stipulation that the city's next chief executive must "love the country and Hong Kong" will be used to exclude dissenting voices from running in the election. It backs calls by pan-democrat lawmakers to let the public nominate candidates for chief executive.

However, the Wen Wei Po, a pro-Beijing Hong Kong daily, is siding with Beijing officials who say public nominations for the 2017 election is not in line with the Basic Law, the city's mini constitution.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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