US halts Blinken's China visit after spy balloon row

US halts Blinken's China visit after spy balloon row
US halts Blinken's China visit after spy balloon row

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details US halts Blinken's China visit after spy balloon row in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a trip to China after a Chinese spy balloon was discovered flying across the US.

Blinken was expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, and potentially with President Xi Jinping.

The visit would have come amid fraying tensions between the two countries.

China has said the balloon is used for meteorological research and deviated from its route because of bad weather.

US officials have said they are confident the "surveillance balloon" floating above the US is Chinese.

A statement from China's Foreign Ministry said that it "regrets" the incident and will work with the US to resolve the issue.

Blinken's visit was expected to take place on 5 and 6 February.

A US official quoted by the Associated Press said that the decision to abruptly halt the trip was made by Blinken and President Joe Biden.

The object flew over Alaska's Aleutian Islands and through Canada before appearing over the city of Billings in Montana on Wednesday, according to officials.

Montana is home to some of the US's nuclear missile silos.

The US decided not to shoot down the balloon because of the danger posed by falling debris, and the limited use of any intelligence the device could gather, a US defence official said. — BBC

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