US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke for the first time with his Chinese colleague about the alleged spy balloon on the sidelines of the security conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday. Blinken warned Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “This must never happen again.”
The United States blasted the Chinese balloon out of the sky in early February, accusing China of espionage activities with the thing. China denied, saying it was a drifted balloon conducting meteorological research. Shooting it down was, according to the Chinese, an ‘exaggerated reaction’. In the following week, the United States shot down three other, smaller objects – which, incidentally, did not belong to China – from the sky.
It did not help the tensions between the two superpowers. Earlier on Saturday, Wang Yi once again lashed out at America in Munich. He denounced the “hysterical and unimaginable” reaction to the Chinese balloon that hovered over American territory for several days in early February. This was followed by a meeting with Blinken.
‘May never happen again’
US Secretary of State Wang Yi made it clear in a conversation of less than an hour on Saturday evening that “such a violation of US sovereignty by a balloon must never happen again.” Furthermore, Blinken said the US approach to China will not change. “Washington is not looking for a new Cold War.”
In an interview with NBC, Blinken reaffirmed his statements against Wang. He also said he didn’t think America overreacted in shooting down the balloon. Blinken’s spokesman said that the minister had been ‘clear and direct’ towards the Chinese. Blinken is said to have said that China’s balloon espionage program was “now exposed to the whole world.” The balloons are said to have entered the skies of more than 40 countries on five continents.
Blinken also warned China that the country should not provide Russia with material for the struggle in Ukraine. Should China do so, sanctions would follow. According to Biden, Wang Yi did not apologize for the incident on behalf of China.
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