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Blinken postpones China trip amid a new row over a Chinese spy balloon in US airspace

ADDS PENTAGON RESPONSE THAT IT WOULD NOT CONFIRM - A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground, officials said Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. The Pentagon would not confirm that the balloon in the photo was the surveillance balloon. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his China trip after the US authorities spotted a Chinese spy balloon in the airspace of the United States on Friday.

Blinken told reporters that the balloon incident damaged the purpose of the trip. Blinken was scheduled to visit China on Sunday.

“It’s very important to emphasize that the presence of this surveillance balloon over the United States is a violation of our sovereignty and international law,” he said. China explained a civilian airship was used for meteorological research that “deviated from its designed course”.

China further said that the balloon entered the US airspace because of its “limited self-steering capability”.

However, US officials say it is a “high-altitude surveillance balloon”.

The Foreign Ministry of China today issued a clarification and said the flight of a Chinese “airship” over the US was a force majeure accident.

China, therefore, accused US leaders and media of taking advantage of the unexpected situation to defame Beijing.

Javed Mahmood
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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.


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