Blinken meets with senior Chinese diplomat in Munich amid tensions over suspected spy balloon

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday met with a senior Chinese language diplomat at a convention in Munich, a State Division spokesperson mentioned.

Blinken and Wang Yi, director of the Individuals’s Republic of China CCP Central Overseas Affairs workplace, met on the sidelines of the Munich Safety Convention, which each are attending, the spokesperson mentioned.

Blinken didn’t reply to questions from reporters later Saturday.

Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China have risen for the reason that taking pictures down of the alleged Chinese language spy balloon, which China has insisted was not supposed for spying.

The U.S. and China exchanged robust phrases after the ballon was downed off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4, with China’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs expressing in a press release its “robust dissatisfaction and protest over using power” by the U.S.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin mentioned afterward that the balloon was being utilized by the Individuals’s Republic of China “in an try and surveil strategic websites within the continental United States.”

After China condemned the U.S. decision to shoot the balloon out of the sky, President Joe Biden mentioned in an interview with NBC Information Thursday that he plans to talk together with his Chinese language President Xi Jinping however didn’t say when, including, “I feel the very last thing that Xi desires is to essentially rip the connection with the US and with me.”

Earlier Thursday, Biden delivered his first remarks in regards to the Chinese language balloon and three unidentified objects flying above North America that have been downed by the U.S. navy. One was shot down Feb. 10 over Alaska, one other was shot down Feb. 11 over Canada, and a 3rd was shot down over Lake Huron on Feb. 12.

“I gave the order to take down these three objects on account of hazards to civilian industrial air visitors and since we couldn’t rule out the surveillance threat of delicate services,” he mentioned in his remarks from the White Home. “Make no mistake, if any object presents a menace to the protection and safety of the American folks, I’ll take it down.”

Biden mentioned that the U.S. nonetheless would not know what the three different objects over North America, which have been additionally shot down by the navy this week, have been. However he prompt that the U.S. intelligence group believes they did not have nefarious functions.

“We’re not on the lookout for a brand new Chilly Battle, however I make no apologies,” Biden mentioned. “I make no apologies, and we are going to compete and we are going to responsibly handle that competitors in order that it doesn’t veer into battle.”

U.S. Northern Command mentioned Friday it really helpful an finish to the seek for particles from two objects shot down in United States airspace this month.

Earlier this month, Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing after the balloon was noticed over the U.S. “We’ve concluded that the situations usually are not proper at this second for Secretary Blinken to journey to China,” a senior State Division official mentioned.

Abigail Williams contributed.

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