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Antony Blinken warns China: spy balloon flights must never happen again

The Secretary of State met in Munich with a senior official of the Chinese communist regime.

Antony Blinken

(Cordon Press)


The German city of Munich hosted this year’s Security Conference, which brings together 96 countries under one very precise context: one year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. delegation was the largest in attendance and led by Vice President Kamala Harris. It was also made up of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and 60 legislators, including senators and representatives.

Blinken confirmed he met with China's top foreign policy official: the head of the Chinese Communist Party's Foreign Affairs Commission Office, Wang Yi. Blinken posted about the meeting on Twitter:

The spy balloon crisis

Last February 4, the federal government shot down a balloon that China claimed was only for meteorological purposes, but the State Department claimed it was part of a mission to spy on the United States. Since then, the government has shot down three other unidentified objects, plus a fourth in neighboring Canada. Antony Blinken was scheduled to visit China, but the discovery of the spy devices caused the Secretary of State to change his plans.

Wang Yi considers the U.S. reaction "almost hysterical." Wang Huiyao, a member of the Chinese diplomatic delegation, used more conciliatory language. He summarized the meeting with these words:

The meeting of the two top diplomats paved the way for the resumption of future high-level dialogue between the two sides, and the two countries can now talk beyond the balloon issue and come back to the negotiating table on some other pressing issues.

The Secretary of State's spokesman, Ned Price, commented on the meeting:

The secretary directly spoke to the unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law by the PRC high-altitude surveillance balloon in U.S. territorial airspace, underscoring that this irresponsible act must never again occur.

The relationship between the two powers deteriorated after the previous speaker's visit to Taiwan, a trip that did not have President Joe Biden’s support. Kevin McCarthy, speaker and successor to Nancy Pelosi, has already announced that he will take the same trip as his predecessor.