Chinese spy balloon: US Secretary of State Blinken speaks to top Chinese officials over canceled visit | US News

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has spoken to a senior Chinese official about his postponed trip to China.

U.S. officials said Mr. Blinken had a phone call today with Wang Yi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office, postponing the planned visit.

But the secretary of state “indicated that he will plan” to travel to China “as soon as conditions permit.”

The officials also said they had “noted” China’s statement of regret, but said “the presence of this balloon in our airspace is a clear violation of our sovereignty and international law, and it is unacceptable that it should have happened”.

In recent days, U.S. intelligence has tracked down a Chinese surveillance balloon, sparking a diplomatic row.

At a news conference today, the US Department of Defense said the Chinese spy balloons were flying eastward but “posed no physical or military threat” to civilians.

The Pentagon press secretary would not confirm the current location of the balloon, which operates at an altitude of about 60,000 feet.

Commodore Patride said there was also no evidence that any nuclear or radioactive material was on board, but it was capable of being manipulated.

Spy balloon's route from China over the Aleutians, via Canada and into Montana
Spy balloon’s route from China over the Aleutians, via Canada and into Montana

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he also refused Chinese Claims that the balloon was actually a “civilian airship” that strayed into US airspace.

US authorities say it now knows about the object – spotted over Billings, Montana, A Chinese balloon flew over the sensitive site to gather information near one of three U.S. nuclear missile silos at Malmstrom Air Force Base on Wednesday.

A map showing where the balloon was found and Malmstrom Air Force Base in the United States
A map showing where the balloon was found and Malmstrom Air Force Base in the United States

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has postponed a high-profile visit to China that was scheduled to start on Sunday.

A senior State Department official described the incident as a “clear violation of US sovereignty and international law” and said Mr Blinken’s travel was “inappropriate at this time”.

Sky News understands Mr Blinken was set to leave for China tonight before the trip was postponed.

He plans to travel “as conditions permit,” according to officials.

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A Pentagon spokesman said the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the United States “violated international law,” adding that it did not pose any physical threat to personnel on the ground.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing Admitted that the balloons came from China, but said they were for meteorological and other scientific research.

A Pentagon spokesman said it was “closely monitoring the situation and will continue to review options.”

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What is a spy balloon?

China responds to U.S. claim that China's
China responds to U.S. claim it has spotted Chinese ‘surveillance balloon’ over Montana

The spokesperson added that the balloon may remain over the United States for several days.

U.S. officials also confirmed that military intelligence had previously seen similar surveillance balloons elsewhere.

The object is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, not far from the coast Alaskaand pass Canada before entering the United States.

Military and defense leaders considered shooting balloons out of the sky but decided against it due to the safety risk of falling debris.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of senior military and defense leaders to review the threat profile and possible responses to the balloon presented to the U.S. president joe biden Wednesday.

President Biden, speaking at a White House conference on jobs earlier today, declined to answer questions on the subject.

The United States has “urgently” contacted Chinese officials and conveyed the seriousness of the situation.

China and the United States have recently experienced tension, clashing over Taiwan and China’s human rights records and their military activities in the South China Sea.

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