Blinken warns China’s balloon invasion ‘never happen again’

Secretary of State Antony Brinken met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at an international security conference in Munich on Saturday, becoming the first between the United States and China since the United States shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon two weeks ago. recorded a high level of contact.

In an hour-long meeting, Brinken told Wang that Beijing’s surveillance program was “open to the world.”

“I condemned the invasion of China’s surveillance balloons and stressed that it should never happen again,” Blinken said in a tweet, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Brinken “makes it clear that the United States does not support any violation of our sovereignty, and that China’s High Altitude Surveillance Balloon Program It has penetrated the airspace of more than 40 countries on five continents and is exposed to the world,” said Price.

Blinken canceled a trip to Beijing earlier this month due to a balloon incident.

Blinken also repeated a standard point he has offered since the Biden administration took office, telling Wang that the United States does not seek confrontation with China.

“America will compete and stand up relentlessly for our values ​​and interests, but we don’t want a confrontation with China and we don’t want a new Cold War,” Price said. Brinken “emphasized the importance of maintaining diplomatic dialogue and open communication at all times”.

In addition to the balloon incident, Mr Price said Mr Blinken would provide assistance to Russia to support the war with Ukraine, including helping Moscow to evade sanctions imposed on Russia by the West. He said he had repeatedly warned China about this.

Blinken tweeted, “I warned China not to provide material aid to Russia. I also stressed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication.”

Earlier Saturday, Wang reiterated Beijing’s criticism of the US for shooting down the balloon, saying the move did not show US strength.

Beijing said the White Orb, which was shot down off the coast of Carolina on February 4, was a civilian airship used primarily for meteorological research that was pushed off course by the wind and had limited “autopilot” capabilities. claimed to be.but According to US officials The balloon carried equipment “apparently for monitoring intelligence activities”, including “multiple antennas” that “could likely collect communications and determine geolocation”. According to a statement by a senior State Department official,.

Wang, secretary general of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, reiterated in his speech at the conference that destroying objects with missiles launched from US fighter jets violated international legal norms. accused of

“The actions don’t show America to be big and strong, they show just the opposite.

Wang also accused the United States of trying to deny China’s economic progress and hinder its further development.

“What we expect from the United States is a pragmatic and proactive approach to China that allows us to work together,” Wang said.

His comments came shortly before Vice President Kamala Harris’ address to the conference.

She said that Washington was “troubled by Beijing’s deepening ties with Moscow since the war began” in Ukraine, adding, “Looking to the future, it is imperative that China provides fatal assistance to Russia.” Any measures to provide will only reward aggression and will continue to kill and further undermine the rules.” Blinken warns China’s balloon invasion ‘never happen again’

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