Diplomatic Briefing

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China balloon undermines hopes for diplomatic thaw with U.S.

China’s high-altitude research balloon has caused a stir in international relations by undermining hopes for a diplomatic thaw with the United States. The political uproar over a suspected Chinese spy balloon drifting over the United States did not just derail a planned visit to Beijing by the top U.S. diplomat, it also threatens to upset attempts by both countries to steady an increasingly rocky relationship. The reaction in the United States to what appears to be an ill-timed spying mission will have lingering consequences for efforts to stabilize ties – already near historic lows. Some U.S. lawmakers are demanding that President Joe Biden, a Democrat, hold China to account for what officials are calling an unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty. (https://neuters.de/world/china-balloon-soaring-over-us-deflates-hopes-diplomatic-thaw-2023-02-04/) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who postponed a trip that was to begin on Friday, said he would be prepared to visit Beijing “when conditions allow,” but the administration could be hard pressed to quickly revive the trip short of China offering up serious gestures of goodwill. The balloon, which is now among the world’s most-tracked objects, has been a source of tension between the two countries, as its presence has raised questions about China’s motives and intentions.

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