Negotiations between Washington and Beijing regarding "spy ball"

The United States contacted China about the recently downed balloon after it was suspected of being used for espionage purposes.

“I had contacts with the People’s Republic of China about the balloon,” US Assistant Secretary of Defense Melissa Dalton said on Monday, without giving details about the people who were involved in the contact or what was discussed during it.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart shortly after a US Air Force fighter shot down a Chinese airship off the US East Coast.

But he received no response, although the incident prompted Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to cancel a long-planned trip to Beijing.

China said it refused to contact the US defense secretary because of Washington’s “irresponsible” decision to shoot down the balloon.

And China’s defense ministry said in a statement that “this seriously irresponsible and wrong approach on the part of the United States does not create a suitable environment for dialogue and exchanges” between the two countries.

“The United States insisted on a forceful attack on the airship, which seriously violated international practice and set a bad precedent,” she added.

Earlier, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the US National Security Council, said that the US does not plan to return the wreckage of a Chinese airship shot down by American fighters to Beijing.

On Saturday, the United States shot down a Chinese balloon it saw over its territory that it believed to be a reconnaissance balloon, while China said it was a weather balloon that mistakenly entered US airspace.

The issue has sparked tensions between the two countries, with US President Joe Biden facing harsh criticism from congressmen for delaying a decision on the forecast.

Source: AFP.

Related Stories

Leave a Reply