Blinken: China’s balloon flight violates U.S. sovereignty

Blinken: China's balloon flight violates U.S. sovereignty

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken commented on the postponement of his visit to China due to the appearance of a Chinese spy balloon in the U.S. sky, saying that the current situation “is not conducive to a constructive visit.”

Blinken said he had a conversation with Wang Yi, head of the office of the CPC Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission, during which the secretary of state said he was postponing his visit to China in light of China’s “unacceptable actions.”

“As you know, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at a meeting in Bali in November that I would go to Beijing to continue the dialogue. U.S. government agencies have been working to prepare discussions on issues that are important to the American people and people around the world. We have been in contact with our counterparts in Beijing to prepare for these meetings,” Blinken reported.

“Yesterday, the Department of Defense reported that we detected and tracked a high-altitude reconnaissance balloon that is over the continental United States,” he continued. – We are closely monitoring this balloon. We believe it’s a Chinese reconnaissance balloon. As soon as we spotted it, the U.S. government immediately took steps to protect classified information. We have been in direct contact with the PRC government on this matter through various channels. Members of my team consulted with our counterparts in other agencies and in Congress. We also contacted our close allies and partners to inform them of the presence of the reconnaissance balloon in our airspace. We have concluded that conditions at this time are not conducive to a constructive visit.”

According to Blinken, he made clear in his conversation with Wang Yi that the presence of this balloon in U.S. airspace was a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law.

“This is an irresponsible move, and the PRC’s decision to go for it on the eve of my scheduled visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions we were prepared to have,” the secretary of state said.

Blinken said the U.S. remains committed to diplomatic engagement with China, and he plans to visit Beijing when conditions allow. In the meantime, the U.S. will keep channels of communication open with China, including on the issue of the incident.

“One last but important observation. The world expects the U.S. and China to handle the bilateral relationship responsibly, and, indeed, solving many of today’s global problems, problems that affect the lives of our people and people around the world, requires that we find a way to work together. The United States will continue to act in ways that reflect our responsibility. We hope that our Chinese colleagues will do the same,” he concluded.

Earlier, Beijing expressed regret over the incident, calling the reconnaissance object a “civilian blimp” that “flew” into U.S. territory “off course.” That claim by Beijing caused political indignation in the United States.

According to a U.S. official, spy balloons have flown over the United States several times in recent years, but this balloon appears to have lingered longer than in previous cases. It has been flying over the United States for several days.

Earlier, a senior U.S. Defense Department official, informing reporters on condition of anonymity, said that the United States had been “monitoring” the object since it entered U.S. airspace and was monitoring it with military aircraft.

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