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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

US, China Diplomats Prepare to Meet at Munich to Cool Rising Tensions

https://ift.tt/Urlds6a. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is preparing to meet with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Munich on Saturday, a meeting widely seen as an attempt to cool rising tensions between the two countries. A diplomatic source told VOA on the condition of anonymity the meeting is expected later Saturday.

The meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference will be the first face-to-face talks between the two top diplomats since the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon early this month. The incident led Blinken to postpone a planned trip to Beijing.

Earlier Saturday, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told an audience at the Munich Security Conference that she is troubled by the Beijing government’s deepening relationship with Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine. Harris added that the Chinese support for Russia amid its war on Ukraine would undermine rule-based international order.

Also on Saturday, Wang said the U.S. shootdown of the Chinese “airship” is “a clear violation of international practice.”


“This behavior is unimaginable and borders on hysteria. It is 100% an abuse of force,” Wang told an audience at the Munich Security Conference. Wang Yi’s formal title is director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

On February 3, Blinken told Wang Yi in a phone call that the spy balloon, which drifted across the continental United States, was “an irresponsible act and a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law that undermined the purpose” of Blinken’s trip. China said it was a weather balloon that strayed off course and later charged that the U.S. has conducted more than 10 balloon flights over China since May 2022. The U.S. has rejected both claims.

U.S. officials say the Chinese military’s refusal to speak with Pentagon counterparts after the balloon was shot down last week was a dangerous development.



Senior U.S. officials have said open lines of communication between the two countries are critical to prevent unintended conflicts, particularly in times of tensions.

U.S. officials note they also see the talks as a move to get back to a broader discussion on a range of issues, while the discussion on China’s surveillance balloon operation over U.S. territory is high on the agenda. 

Author webdesk@voanews.com (Nike Ching)
Source : VOA


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