China isn’t apologizing for sending a surveillance balloon across the United States.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted during an appearance with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that his Chinese counterpart declined to apologize for the balloon in a meeting this week.
“No, there was no apology,” Blinken said of his meeting with Wang Yi, Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission.
Blinken emphasized his objections to the balloon in the interview — an insistence he made to Wang.
The two diplomats were present for the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
“I told him quite simply that that was unacceptable and can never happen again.”
China’s foreign ministry expressed “regrets that the airship strayed into the United States due to force majeure,” declining to go so far as to apologize for the craft’s violation of U.S airspace.
Wang criticized Washington for a reaction he described as “nearly hysterical” during a Munich Security Conference appearance.
Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, criticized the U.S. for what he called its “nearly hysterical” reaction to the Chinese balloon, in a speech that comes as the two sides seek to renew high-level talks.@KeithZhai @willmauldin @laurnormanhttps://t.co/l9pWAfGDiL
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) February 18, 2023
Blinken reportedly described a Chinese spy balloon program as having been “exposed to the world” in his meeting with Wang, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In the evening, Messrs. Blinken and Wang sat down for an hourlong meeting that wasn’t publicly scheduled, and Mr. Blinken told his counterpart that China’s surveillance balloon program “has been exposed to the world,” according to the State Department.https://t.co/6bhrIZABXR
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) February 19, 2023
The meeting was the first of its kind between Blinken and his counterpart after the balloon incident.
Blinken cancelled a trip to Beijing earlier this month after the craft traversed the continental United States, according to NPR.
The surveillance balloon was ultimately shot down over U.S territorial waters east of South Carolina.
“The main concern is material support to Russia’s war effort that would have a lethal effect,” Blinken warned, citing intelligence that indicates China is considering helping Russia in the conflict.
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