Wang Yi speaks to U.S. Secretary of State over ‘spy balloon’ incident and emphasises that China is a responsible country that strictly abides by international law

Antony Blinken and Wang Yi spoke over the 'spy balloon' incident.
4th February 2023 - (Beijing) After the 'spy balloon' incident between China and the United States, the U.S. government announced on Friday (3rd) that it would postpone Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned visit to China this Sunday (5th). The Chinese government announced on Saturday (4th) that Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, had a phone call with Blinken. The two sides communicated on how to deal with the incident in a calm and professional manner. The Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out on the same day that, in fact, neither China nor the US had announced any official visits. 
The U.S. government released  the relevant information on its own account, and China respects its decision.

Wang Yi emphasised that China is a responsible country that strictly abides by international law and does not accept any groundless speculation and hype. In the face of unexpected situations,  both parties need to maintain concentration, communicate in a timely manner, avoid misjudgments,  manage and control differences. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement stating that the incident was completely an accident caused by force majeure. China has no intention and never violates the territory and airspace of any sovereign country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that maintaining contact and communication at all levels is an important consensus of the Bali meeting between the Chinese and US leaders.  Some politicians and media in the United States took advantage of the issue to attack and discredit China. China firmly opposed any political sabotage.

One of the responsibilities of the diplomatic teams of the two countries is to properly manage bilateral relations, especially to calmly and safely handle some unexpected events. Earlier, Blinken pointed out on Friday that he had informed Wang Yi of the postponement of the trip, and said that the incident happened on the eve of his planned visit to China, which was an irresponsible action by the Chinese government. However, the United States will maintain the opening of communication channels with China and visit China when conditions permit. He did not specify a new date for his next visit to China, but only highlighted that the current focus is on debunking the spy balloon incident, emphasising, "The first step is to get that surveillance equipment out of our airspace."  He reiterated that Washington remains open to communication with Beijing.  

Meanwhile, Karine Jean-Pierre, a White House spokesman said that President Biden had been briefed on the incident on Thursday, and Washington agreed that it would not be appropriate to visit China at this time. She was aware of China's claim that the balloon was a civil weather airship, but she stressed that its presence in US airspace was clearly a violation of sovereignty and international law, and the situation was unacceptable. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said the balloon should not be allowed to enter U.S. airspace and should be shot down, while urging the Biden administration to take swift action to drive the balloon away.

In addition  a second Chinese spy balloon has been spotted moving across Latin America, the Pentagon announced on Friday night. It is unclear exactly which country in the region the balloon is hovering over but it does not appear as if it is headed towards the United States, according to CNN. Earlier a senior Pentagon official flatly rejected Beijing’s claims that a Chinese airship spotted flying over sensitive US military sites was a meteorological research balloon.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder said during a press briefing at midday on Friday that the US was continuing to weigh its options and described the airship’s presence as an “unacceptable” violation of US airspace.