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China downplays the importance of canceling Blinken’s visit after the “spy balloon” crisis


China downplayed the importance of canceling US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Beijing, after a huge Chinese balloon suspected of monitoring US military sites sabotaged diplomatic relations, while the US Department of Defense (The Pentagon) announced that a “second Chinese spy balloon” had flown. over Latin America.

And the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday: “In fact, the United States and China have never announced any visit, and the United States making any such announcement is its own thing, and we respect that.”

Blinken was scheduled to visit the Chinese capital, Beijing, today, for talks aimed at reducing tensions between the United States and China, the first high-level visit of its kind after the leaders of the two countries met last November in Indonesia, but the United States suddenly canceled the trip, after discovering The huge balloon, despite China stating that it was just a derailed weather research balloon.

The Pentagon rejected Beijing’s claim that the balloon was out of control, and refused its claim that it was not used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.

In addition, the US Department of Defense announced that a second Chinese spy balloon had flown over Latin America, after the first balloon was spotted in US airspace the previous day.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said in a statement: “We are aware of reports of a balloon flying over Latin America. We consider that it is related to another Chinese spy balloon,” without specifying its exact location.

Yesterday, Beijing considered that the media and politicians in the United States are exploiting American allegations about the launch of a Chinese spy balloon over American territory, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued after Blinken was postponed to Beijing: “Some politicians and media in the United States used the incident as an excuse to attack China.” And tarnish its image, China has never violated the territory and domain of any sovereign country.

China had earlier issued a statement blaming the wind for pushing what it described as a “civilian balloon” into US airspace.

In contact with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, Blinken said that he “took note of the feelings of regret expressed by China,” but indicated that this was “an irresponsible act, and a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law, which undermines the purpose of the trip,” according to the US State Department.

He stressed that the United States hopes to “keep the channels of communication open with Beijing,” noting that he might be able to visit Beijing again when conditions permit.

Blinken’s tour would have been the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China since 2018. It aims to ease tensions between the United States and the Asian giant, which Washington considers its main competitor in the world.

The Republican opposition took advantage of this incident to denounce the outstretched hand policy of US President Joe Biden’s administration towards Beijing, she said.

Senator Tom Cotton, who urged Blinken to cancel the visit, said in a tweet that “President Biden must stop being lenient with the Chinese and appeasing them,” saying: “Down the balloon immediately and take advantage of its techniques,” indicating that it could constitute a great intelligence gain.

In a post on his social networking site, Truth, former Republican President Donald Trump wrote: “Down that balloon!”

And the “Pentagon” announced that it was tracking the movements of a Chinese spy balloon that flew at a high altitude over the United States, and this includes areas containing sensitive military sites, and at Biden’s request, the “Pentagon” discussed the possibility of shooting down the balloon, but ultimately decided not to do so, Because of the dangers that falling debris poses to people, according to a senior defense official.