Latest China News – Today’s Breaking

Latest China News – Today’s Breaking

First face-to-face meeting between Blinken and Chinese counterpart since spy balloon was shot down

In their first face-to-face meeting since the US military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi met on Saturday.

Blinken “directly spoke to the unacceptable violation of US sovereignty and international law” in a meeting on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference, and he emphasized that incidents like the balloon, which hovered over US airspace for days before the US shot it down off the coast of South Carolina, “must never occur again,” according to a statement from the State Department’s Ned Price.

Blinken, who was described as being “extremely straight and forthright throughout the meeting” by a senior State Department official, started the discussion by expressing “how unacceptable and irresponsible” it was that China had flown the balloon into US territory. The senior official told reporters that the secretary later voiced regret that Beijing had not held military-to-military talks when the Chinese balloon incident took place.

He openly expressed our disappointment that our Chinese military counterparts had not answered the phone during this current period. That’s unfortunate in our opinion. Furthermore, that is not how our two sides should be conducting business, the official stated.

Yet, “no official agreement” was made on any sort of structure to foster communication between the two nations.

The balloon incident has quickly caused a diplomatic backlash, with the US accusing Beijing of running a comprehensive global monitoring programme. Beijing has refuted those assertions and in response has accused the US of violating its airspace by ballooning there without authorization while failing to provide any supporting documentation. China says that the balloon was a civilian research aircraft that was unintentionally blown off course when US soldiers discovered and then shot it down earlier this month.

According to a press release carried by CGTN, a Chinese state media outlet, Wang acknowledged what he called an “informal” meeting with Blinken on Saturday and urged the US to mend the “damage” to the countries’ relations. Wang had earlier slammed the US response to the incident, calling it “absurd and hysterical” and “100% an abuse of the use of force.”

What had been considered as a window of opportunity for the US and China to normalize relations was immediately affected by the incident. Early in February, Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing that was scheduled after the balloon, which was visible from space and drifting over the US, grabbed media attention.

Following a largely cordial face-to-face between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in November, the visit would have been the first to China by a US secretary of state since 2018.

On Thursday, Biden stated that he would like to speak with Xi about the balloon but would not retract his decision to shoot it down. He remarked, “I hope we will figure things out, but I make no apologies for pulling down that balloon.

The State Department official claimed that Blinken brought up a potential discussion between Biden and Xi and that US officials haven’t heard anything in recent days that would change their conclusion that the balloon was being used for Chinese surveillance.

Nothing that we’ve heard offers a plausible explanation for what this balloon was. The US completely supports our evaluation, the official said.

Some observers hypothesized that Beijing had been lowering its guard in international affairs and stepping up its diplomacy with Western countries in an effort to regain lost territory after being monetarily depleted by its now-abandoned zero-Covid plan.

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