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Balloon launch: USA wanted to call China


Immediately after the launch of a suspected spy balloon, the US Secretary of Defense tried to talk to his Chinese counterpart. Now the Pentagon announces: "Unfortunately, the People's Republic has refused."

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US forces conducting salvage operations in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina



China blocked a call from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after the US shot down a suspected spy balloon.

The Pentagon reported on Tuesday.

A call was requested on a secure line between Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe immediately after the balloon was launched on Saturday, ministry spokesman Pat Ryder said.

"Unfortunately, the People's Republic of China has rejected our application."

"We believe in the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between the US and the People's Republic of China in order to manage our relationship responsibly," Ryder said.

"Wires between our armed forces are particularly important at such moments." The US would continue to advocate for open channels of communication.

The overflight of the alleged spy balloon over the United States had caused a stir and outrage in the past few days - and new tensions between Washington and Beijing.

US President Joe Biden finally had the balloon shot down by a warplane over the Atlantic on the American east coast on Saturday when the balloon was no longer over the mainland.

The rubble is now being salvaged and there are no plans to return it to China.

An analysis of the remains should provide information about what information the balloon had actually collected.

Washington accuses China of using the balloon to spy on military installations.

China, on the other hand, said after the balloon was discovered that it was a civil balloon for meteorological purposes that had gone off course.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said on Monday that the shooting down had "seriously impaired and damaged" relations between the People's Republic and the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning followed up on Tuesday: The United States should deal with such incidents "in a calm and professional manner" without resorting to violence, she said.

But they had decided differently, which was a "clear overreaction".

In view of the dispute over the balloon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned trip to Beijing at almost the last minute before it was launched.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-02-07

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