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Washington D.C. – Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has postponed his high-stakes diplomatic trip to China, according to a U.S. official. The trip was scheduled for this weekend, but was postponed as the Biden administration considers its response to the discovery of a Chinese balloon flying over sensitive sites in the western United States.
China has claimed that the balloon was a weather research satellite that was blown off course, but the U.S. has described it as a surveillance satellite. This development has added to already-strained U.S.-Chinese relations and prompted the postponement of Blinken’s trip.
Blinken’s meetings with senior Chinese officials were viewed as an opportunity to find common ground on major disagreements such as Taiwan, human rights, the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade policy, and climate change. The trip, which was agreed to in November by President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, had not been formally announced, but both Beijing and Washington had been preparing for Blinken’s arrival. The meetings were set to take place Sunday and Monday.
This postponement is a setback for U.S.-Chinese relations and highlights the growing tensions between the two countries.