CHINA: According to the Pentagon, a second Chinese spy balloon was apparently flying over Latin America at the time when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a trip to China following the entry of a different high-altitude Chinese balloon into US territory.
Although the Pentagon did not give a precise location for the balloon, a US official told CNN that it did not appear to be currently travelling in the direction of the US.
Blinken said that he had talked to Wang Yi, the top diplomat for China, while he was in South Korea on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the State Department said that communication between the two countries was still open and that the trip had just been put off, not canceled.
As the first US secretary of state to visit China since October 2018, Blinken’s trip would have marked a warming in relations following tensions under the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Blinken declared last month that he would use the journey to help set up “guardrails” to keep the relationship from degenerating into a full-blown fight.
Even though US officials made it clear they didn’t believe China’s explanation that the object was a weather balloon that had been blown off course, China said it was sorry the object was in US airspace.
Later, China’s foreign ministry said that some US lawmakers and media outlets were trying to “discredit” China by using the incident.
A White House official said that President Joe Biden and his advisors agreed that Blinken shouldn’t go to China this weekend. The official also stressed that the balloon is not a military or physical threat.
Republican senators used the balloon incident as a way to call Biden weak, even though he has mostly supported and sometimes strengthened Trump’s tough policy toward China.
According to a representative for the Pentagon, the balloon was expected to pass over US airspace for a few more days.
According to Pentagon officials, the craft has chosen a flight course that would take it over several sensitive locations. They are military bases in Montana that have silos for missiles that can travel across the whole country.
The cancellation of Blinken’s trip, which Biden and Xi Jinping, the president of China, had planned for November, will make it harder to find solutions to a number of problems, especially those related to Taiwan’s future and each country’s military position in the Indo-Pacific.
Also Read: China Responds to USA Over the “Spy Balloon” Case