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US suspends blinking China visit over spy balloon controversy

As a result of a Chinese spy balloon flying across the US, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed his trip to China.

According to a senior State Department official, the moment was not appropriate for the first high-level US-China summit there in years.

The official acknowledged the Chinese apology but characterized the balloon as a blatant disregard for international law and sovereignty.


Tensions between the US and China were expected to deteriorate during the visit.

The senior US ambassador was scheduled to travel to Beijing for talks on a variety of topics, including security, Taiwan, and Covid-19.

Buton Thursday, US defense officials revealed they were monitoring a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the US, which caused alarm.

The balloon’s presence incited concern despite the Pentagon’s claim that it was “flying at an altitude considerably above commercial air traffic” and did not “create a military or physical threat to individuals on the ground.”


Donald Trump, a former US president, was one of those urging the US military to shoot it down.

Finally acknowledging ownership of the balloon on Friday, China claimed it was a civilian airship used for meteorological research that got lost due to severe weather.

China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement regretting the event and promising to cooperate with the US to find a solution.

The state department official clarified that although the US confirmed China’s assertion regarding the function of the balloon, it maintained the conclusion that it was being used for spying.


The official added that Mr. Blinken will make another trip to China “at the earliest opportunity” and that Washington intended to keep “open channels of communication” concerning the issue.


Mr. Blinken was scheduled to travel to China on February 5 and 6.

According to a US official cited by the Associated Press, Mr. Blinken and President Joe Biden decided to quickly end the trip.

After making comments about the US economy on Friday morning, Mr. Biden declined to answer any questions regarding the balloon.

US officials claim that the balloon passed over Alaska and Canada before making an appearance in Montana, a state in the US that is home to several critical military missile facilities.

Fighter planes were informed about the object, but the US chose against shooting it down because of the risk of falling debris, according to officials.

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