Blinken's Now-Cancelled Visit to China Was Never Officially Announced, Beijing Says
- February, 04, 2023 - 15:48
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled his visit to China after the US military complained about a Chinese high-altitude balloon penetrating the US airspace, with Beijing insisting that it was just a wayward “civilian airship” used for research.
In a statement issued on Saturday morning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said they respect the decision made by the US, Sputnik reported.
"In actuality, the US and China have never announced any visit, the US making any such announcement is their own business, and we respect that," the ministry said.
Blinken was originally expected to visit China on Sunday for talks that were supposed to help ease the tensions in relations between Washington and Beijing – relations that became rather strained after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an official visit to Taiwan last year.
Blinken’s visit, however, ended up being scrapped after the US on Thursday announced the discovery of a Chinese high-altitude balloon moving through the US airspace and potentially monitoring sensitive sites such as ballistic missile silos.
Chinese diplomats argued that the balloon was merely a "civilian airship used for research," which had veered off its planned course due to winds and accidentally strayed into the US airspace.
The US military has so far appeared unwilling or perhaps unable to bring down the balloon amid concerns that falling debris might harm civilians on the ground.