Spy Balloons ‘must never again occur’: Blinken tells Chin’s top diplomat Wang

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MUNICH (Germany) : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday and warned him not to repeat its “irresponsible act” of sending spy balloons into American airspace, The Washington Post reported.

“The secretary made clear the United States will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price underlining that Blinken had also warned China for its balloon incursion and called it an “irresponsible act” and warned that it “must never again occur.”

Taking to Twitter, Blinken said, “Just met with the PRC’s top diplomat, Wang Yi. I condemned the incursion of the PRC surveillance balloon and stressed it must never happen again. I warned China against providing material support to Russia. I also emphasized the importance of keeping open lines of communication.”

This statement came while the two top diplomats met on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference.

During the meeting, the two diplomats discussed various issues, including Chinese surveillance and the country’s alliance with Moscow — topics that have brought diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington to new lows, reported The Washington Post.

At the annual Munich Security Conference, leaders from across the globe have gathered to discuss key geopolitical challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s contentious engagement with the West.

Blinken also reiterated to Wang comments he had made publicly about Beijing’s alleged balloon surveillance program, saying it has “intruded into the air space of over 40 countries across 5 continents [and] has been exposed to the world,” Price said.

The viewpoint of China is looming particularly large at the traditionally Eurocentric conference given the surprise announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to deliver a “peace speech” on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to The Washington Post.

Wang was much more critical in describing the United States’ handling of the balloon incident, saying the Biden administration’s actions were “absurd and hysterical.”

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi alleged the US of trying to “smear” the Asian giant while it itself was implementing policies that ran counter to its paradigms such as free trade.

Washington, he said, had the wrong view of China as a serious geopolitical challenge and a threat to the United States. “This is a misguided perception of China and with this perception, the United States is using all of its means to smear and clamp down on China and is co-opting other countries to do the same,” he said.

He said that US President Joe Biden’s administration has a “misguided” perception of Beijing.

“There are many balloons from many countries in the sky. Do you want to down each and every one of them?” said Wang.

He also urged the US “not to do such preposterous things simply to divert attention from its own domestic problems.”

Notably, the US shot down the giant balloon, which China claimed to be a civilian airship used for research mainly meteorological, on February 4 after it hovered over the country for a week.

Blinken had been due to travel to Beijing earlier this month but abruptly called off the visit amid the balloon incursion.

Negotiations over whether to hold this meeting in Munich had gone on for days, underscoring the strain in a relationship where meetings between top diplomats used to be commonplace, said officials familiar with the matter.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. (ANI)

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