Home / News / World /  ‘Chinese balloon program exposed to world’: Blinken after meeting Wang Yi

Chinese spy balloon controversy: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to raise the unacceptable violation of American sovereignty and warned that Beijing's material support to Moscow over the Ukrainian war would attract sanctions. 

The meeting between the two top American and Chinese diplomats took place on the margins of the Munich Security Conference, according to the news agency PTI. 

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price informed, “The Secretary directly spoke to the unacceptable violation of US sovereignty and international law by the PRC high-altitude surveillance balloon in US territorial airspace, underscoring that this irresponsible act must never occur again."

During the meeting, Blinken made clear the United States will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty, and that the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon program — which has intruded into the airspace of more than 40 countries across five continents — has been exposed to the world, he added. 

A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, which Beijing denies was a government spy vessel, spent a week flying over the United States and Canada before being shot down off the Atlantic Coast earlier this month on U.S. President Joe Biden's orders.

Wang reinforced Beijing’s position that the balloon was for civilian use and criticized the US for “ignoring basic facts." 

The two countries, China and the US have been trading barbs since the Biden administration earlier this month shot down what it said was a spy balloon that had drifted over the continental US.

President Joe Biden said Thursday evening in the US that he expects to soon speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the incident, signaling a desire to avoid further escalation of tensions.

The US Navy has wrapped up its search for debris from the Chinese balloon shot down off South Carolina on 4 February, with the remaining pieces of the balloon's payload being transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for counterintelligence exploitation.

After February 4, a further three objects were downed between February 10 and 12 over Deadhorse in Alaska, near Yukon in Canada, and over Lake Huron close to the US-Canada border.

The White House revealed that such balloons had traversed US territory at least three times during President Donald Trump’s administration unknown to Trump or his aides — and that others have flown over dozens of nations across five continents. Kirby emphasized Monday that they were only detected by the Biden administration.


(With PTI inputs)

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