Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s top diplomat blasts US over ‘hysterical and absurd’ balloon claim

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday blasted the US reaction to what Washington has called a Chinese spy balloon as “hysterical and absurd”, in uncharacteristically strong remarks against the top Western power. Addressing a gathering of world leaders at the Munich Security Conference, Wang said President Joe Biden’s administration has a “misguided” perception of Beijing. And he accused the United States of trying to “smear” the Asian giant while it itself was implementing policies that ran counter to its paradigms such as free trade. “There are many balloons from many countries in the sky. Do you want to down each and every one of them?” Wang asked. “We urge the United States not to do such preposterous things simply to divert attention from its own domestic problems.” (https://www.france24.com/en/americas/20230218-china-s-top-diplomat-blasts-us-over-hysterical-and-absurd-balloon-claim) Washington has been in a state of alarm since a huge white balloon from China was spotted over a series of top secret nuclear weapons sites, before being shot down just off the east coast on February 4. Beijing denies it uses spy balloons and says the craft was for weather research. Subsequently it accused Washington of sending its own espionage balloons over its territory — which the US has denied. The spat had led US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a rare visit to China. With Blinken also in Munich for the conference, all eyes are on whether both sides succeed in setting up a meeting. But asked if he was planning a huddle with the US delegation, Wang reacted combatively. Washington, he said, had the wrong view of China as a serious geopolitical challenge and a threat to the United States.

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