Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: U.S. and China diplomats keep communicating

U.S. diplomatic communications with China remain open after the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon this month, but contact between the countries’ militaries “unfortunately” remains shut down, the White House said on Friday. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said it was not the “right time” for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to travel to China after he postponed a Feb. 5-6 trip over the balloon episode, but President Joe Biden wanted to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping when it was “appropriate.” Kirby told a White House news briefing that U.S. and Chinese diplomats can still communicate despite tensions over the balloon incident. “I recognize that there are tensions, but Secretary Blinken still has an open line of communication with the foreign minister. We still have an embassy in Beijing … and the State Department also can communicate directly with the PRC embassy personnel here,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “Unfortunately, the military lines aren’t open, and that’s really what we would like to see amended,” he said. (https://neuters.de/world/us/us-china-military-unfortunately-not-communicating-white-house-2023-02-17/) China cut several military-to-military communication channels and other areas of bilateral dialogue after an August visit to the Chinese-claimed island of Taiwan by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which took Washington-Beijing relations to a dangerous low.

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