Blinken met the Chinese Wang Yi in Munich

Blinken met the Chinese Wang Yi in Munich

After the US Army shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon, talks began between top diplomats from both countries on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China’s top foreign politician Wang Yi “that this irresponsible act must never happen again”. Wang hit back by accusing the US of “excessive use of force” undermining relations.

In the context of rising bilateral tensions, there was speculation about a meeting between the two diplomats in Munich. Because of suspicion of the Chinese spy balloon over the United States, Blinken canceled a planned visit to Beijing at short notice in early February. At the hour-long meeting at an undisclosed location in Munich, Blinken was “very direct and open,” said a senior US State Department official, who declined to be identified.

In connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Blinken also warned of “consequences” should Beijing provide “material support” to Russia or help circumvent Western sanctions, US State Department spokesman Ned said. Price, summing up the meeting. At the same time, Blinken stressed that the US does not want “a conflict” with China and no “new Cold War”. Blinken highlighted the importance of diplomatic dialogue and open channels of communication “at all times”.

China’s tough stance was clear

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported after the meeting that Wang “made clear China’s tough stance on the so-called airship incident”. He also urged the US to “change course, recognize and repair the damage its excessive use of force has done to US-China relations”. According to Xinhua, the talks took place in Munich at the request of the US side.

In a speech to politicians and international experts gathered in Munich, Wang had already attested to the “hysterical and absurd” reaction in the US to the balloon case. He accused the US government of having a “wrong” view of China and wanting to “smear” Beijing’s reputation. China urges the US not to do these “absurd things” just to “distract attention from domestic problems,” Wang said. “There are many balloons from many countries in the sky. Do you want to shoot down every one of them?” asked the top Chinese foreign policy maker wryly.

The day-long flyby of the alleged Chinese spy balloon over several top secret US nuclear weapons depots has led to a scandal between Washington and Beijing. Blinken canceled a planned trip to Beijing at short notice. It must have been the first visit to China by a US secretary of state in over four years.

Spying claims dismissed

An American fighter finally shot the white balloon over the sea on February 4th. The US military recovered wreckage which is now being examined. Beijing describes the balloon as a weather balloon and rejects the spying allegations.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday signaled his willingness to defuse tensions with Beijing and also to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Tensions between China and the United States have increased significantly in recent years. Among other things, it deals with the conflict over Taiwan, the situation in Hong Kong, human rights and trade issues. In recent months, however, there have also been signs of easing. Biden and Xi met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia last November. (apa)