Despite Beijing’s regret that the “scientific research tool” has penetrated American airspace
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a visit he was scheduled to make to Beijing, on Sunday and Monday; Because of a Chinese balloon that violated American airspace for “espionage purposes,” according to the Pentagon.
A US official, who asked not to be named, confirmed to reporters that the balloon’s flight in US airspace “represents a clear violation of our sovereignty and international law,” justifying the postponement of the visit despite the “regret” expressed by Beijing.
“We have made clear to our Chinese counterparts that this is unacceptable and irresponsible,” he added. According to this official, the Biden administration felt that “now is not the right time for the Secretary of State to go” to Beijing.
On the other hand, the same official mitigated the repercussions of this decision, and stressed that the incident should not be given more than its size, indicating that Blinken will set a new date for the visit as soon as “the appropriate conditions are available.”
He added that Washington remains “confident” in its ability to keep “open channels of communication” with Beijing.
For its part, Beijing yesterday expressed its “regret” for the violation of US airspace by an unmanned Chinese balloon, stressing that the flying object is for scientific research, and its entry into US airspace took place “unintentionally”.
“It is a civilian balloon used for research purposes, primarily for meteorological research,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “The Chinese side regrets that the balloon inadvertently entered US airspace due to force majeure,” the statement added.