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China rejects a call from the US after shooting down the "spy" balloon and diplomatic relations are further strained


China's national defense minister declined to speak to his US counterpart, avoiding a conversation with the US seeking to "responsibly manage the relationship" bilaterally, after shooting down the massive artifact over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday.

By Phil McCausland -

NBC News

The Chinese government seems not to want to hear about it.

After the United States shot down on Saturday the alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over US territory for days, the Asian country declined a request from Washington to make a call between the US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and his counterpart, the Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe, the Department of Defense reported Tuesday.

The aim of the call was apparently to

ease tensions between the two countries

and "responsibly manage the relationship" between the two countries following the downing of the massive surveillance balloon, Pentagon press secretary General Pat Ryder said.

"Relations between our Armies are particularly important at times like this," he added.

“Unfortunately, the PRC (People's Republic of China) has rejected our request.

Our commitment to keeping the lines of communication open will continue."

The United States brought down the balloon on Saturday afternoon with a single Sidewinder missile fired from an F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft.

But bilateral tensions did not calm down after the remains of the artifact fell into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Chinese spy balloon was the size of four school buses lined up

Feb 7, 202300:46

Before the Biden government announced its decision to shoot it down, China claimed that it was a "civilian aircraft" for meteorological research and that its incursion into US airspace was "unintentional."

Beijing stated that it intended to continue dialogue with the US authorities on the presence of the device in the country.

Once the balloon was destroyed, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted immediately, expressing its "strong discontent and protest at the use of force" by the United States.

"The Chinese side had clearly asked the US side to handle the situation appropriately, calmly, professionally and restraint," the official statement detailed, calling the Biden Administration's decision "blatant overreaction and serious violation of practice." common international.

[China accuses the US of using "indiscriminate" force against the globe]

"China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the affected companies, while reserving the right to respond if necessary," the statement said.

The balloon had surveillance purposes and "flew over" the United States and Canada on purpose "and we are sure it was seeking to monitor sensitive military locations," a senior Biden Administration official told NBC News, sister network of Noticias Telemundo, on Saturday.

The aircraft entered US airspace on January 28

north of the Aleutian Islands

(Alaska) and flew over Canada a few days later.

It returned to the United States the next day via northern Idaho, before slowly traversing the country and approaching several nuclear facilities.

Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover remnants of the balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on February 5, 2023. United States Navy.


Navy divers are recovering fragments of the balloon, which will be analyzed at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

US officials said it

is unlikely that China obtained information from the device

that it did not already know through the use of satellites.

[The Chinese balloon has already been destroyed, but the Republicans want to charge Biden for not taking it down sooner]

Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of the US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told reporters Monday that the United States

waited to destroy the balloon because it was gathering intelligence

on the balloon.


“This gave us an opportunity to assess what they were actually doing, what kind of capabilities were there on the globe, what kind of broadcast capabilities did it have,” he said.

"I think that in the future they will see that the wait was worth it, because it allowed them to collect more (information)."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-02-08

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