The top diplomats from the United States and China met on Saturday in the first high-level contact between their countries since the U.S. shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon two weeks ago, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken sending the message that Beijing’s surveillance program had been “exposed to the world.”
Not Starting New Cold War
Blinken had canceled a trip to Beijing earlier this month due to the balloon incident, which has become a major issue of contention between the two countries. A meeting at the conference in Germany had been widely anticipated. He also told Wang that the U.S. does not seek conflict with China, repeating a standard talking point that the Biden administration has provided since it has come into office.
“The United States will compete and will unapologetically stand up for our values and interests, but that we do not want conflict with the PRC and are not looking for a new Cold War,” Price said. Blinken “underscored the importance of maintaining diplomatic dialogue and open lines of communication at all times.”
Used For Weather Research
Earlier Saturday, Wang had renewed Beijing’s criticism of the U.S. for shooting down what Washington says was a Chinese spy balloon, arguing that the move did not point to U.S. strength. Beijing insists the white orb shot down off the Carolina coast on Feb. 4 was just an errant civilian airship used mainly for meteorological research that went off course due to winds and had only limited “self-steering” capabilities.
Wang, the director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, repeated that insistence in a speech at the conference and accused the U.S. of violating international legal norms in destroying the object with a missile fired from an U.S. fighter jet.
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