Antony Blinken Postpones Trip to China Amid Spy Balloon Controversy
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 223
In a recent development, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a highly anticipated diplomatic visit to China amidst growing concerns of China's suspected surveillance activities over sensitive areas in the western United States.
The visit, which was scheduled to take place over the weekend, was abruptly cancelled just hours before Blinken's departure from Washington.
The Discovery of a Chinese Balloon
The controversy revolves around the discovery of a high-altitude Chinese balloon flying over western US territories, a move that US officials have described as a violation of US sovereign airspace.
Beijing, on the other hand, has dismissed these claims, stating that the balloon was actually a weather satellite that had gone off course. In a statement, reported by Financial Times, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed regret for the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace and promised to "properly handle this unexpected situation." "The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure"
An Unwavering Stance: US Officials Raise Concerns
The US has strongly expressed its disapproval of China's action in entering US airspace with a balloon.
The US has made it clear to China that this incident was unacceptable and irresponsible.
Political Repercussions: Lawmakers Slam China
The incident has also sparked outrage among US lawmakers, with Mike Gallagher, the Republican head of the new House China committee, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the panel’s top Democrat, slamming China over the matter.
In a joint statement, the lawmakers stated that "the Chinese Communist party should not have on-demand access to American airspace" and that the incident "makes clear that the CCP’s recent diplomatic overtures do not represent a substantive change in policy."
Blinken and Biden Decide to Postpone Visit
With the diplomatic tensions at an all-time high, Blinken and President Joseph Biden have judged that postponing the trip was the best course of action at this time.
The official confirmed that Blinken had spoken to Wang Yi, China’s top foreign policy official, on Friday to inform him of the cancellation. The discovery of the Chinese balloon and the subsequent controversy have added another layer of complexity to the already troubled relationship between the US and China.
The postponement of Blinken's trip serves as a clear indication of the US's unwavering stance on the matter and its commitment to protecting its sovereign airspace.