Chinese spy balloon ‘detrimental’ to planned US visit, says Blinken | US News
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China’s spy balloon was “detrimental” to “important discussions” that would take place during his visit.
Mr. Blinken said he spoke with the Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China, Wang Yi, on Friday about postponing the visit, saying: “The conditions are not conducive to a visit to bring a visit. constructive at this point.”
A spokesman for the secretary of state said earlier that Mr Blinken “said he would be planning to travel” to China “as soon as conditions permit”.
WE Officials also “recognized” China’s statement of regret but said the “presence of this hot air balloon in our airspace is a clear violation of our sovereignty, as well as the law.” international and it is unacceptable that this has happened”.
Mr Blinken was set to depart for China this evening before the trip was postponed, Sky News understands.
The secretary of state’s comments came as US authorities confirmed a balloon tracked across the US in recent days was a Chinese surveillance device.
At a press conference today, the US Department of Defense said the balloon was heading east but “posed no physical or military threat” to civilians.
The Pentagon press secretary would not confirm the current position of the balloon, which is operating at about 60,000 feet.
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There is also no evidence of any nuclear or radioactive material on board but it is likely to be maneuvered, according to Brigadier General Pat Ryder.
He also rejected China’s claim that the balloon was in fact a “civilian airship” that had strayed into US airspace.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing admitted the balloon came from China – but said it was for meteorology and other scientific research.
US authorities say they now know the subject – discovered on Billings, Montana, on Wednesday, near one of three US nuclear missile sites at Malmstrom Air Force Base – a Chinese hot air balloon that flies over sensitive sites to gather information.
A Pentagon spokesman said they were “closely monitoring the situation and will continue to consider options”.
The spokesman added that the balloon will likely stay in the US for a few days.
US officials also confirmed military intelligence had previously seen similar surveillance balls elsewhere.
The object is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of alaskaand passed Canada before entering the US.
Military and defense leaders considered shooting the balloon out of the sky, but decided against it due to the safety risk of falling debris.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of senior military and defense leaders to review the balloon’s threat profile and possible responses, which were presented. to the President of the United States Joe Biden on Wednesday.
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President Biden, speaking at a White House job conference earlier today, declined to answer questions on the subject.
The US communicated with Chinese officials “urgently” and informed of the severity of the situation.
China and the US have recently experienced tensions and conflicts over Taiwan and China’s human rights record as well as its military activities in the South China Sea.