News ID: 112073
Publish Date : 04 February 2023 - 21:31

UN ‘Concerned’ About Heightened Tension Between China, U.S.

UNITED NATIONS (AP/Anadolu) – The UN says it does not want to see heightened tensions between China and the U.S. in the aftermath of a suspected Chinese balloon detected in American airspace.
“We are concerned with whenever there are heightened tensions between China and the U.S. and this is this is a theme that the Secretary-General has often referred to in various speeches,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
“On this particular incident, obviously the two will have to navigate it. But given the global leadership position of both countries, I think it is incumbent on them to do whatever they can to lower tensions.”
China played down the cancellation of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Washington said a large Chinese balloon was allegedly conducting surveillance on U.S. military sites roiled diplomatic relations, saying that neither side had formally announced any such plan.
“In actuality, the U.S. and China have never announced any visit, the U.S. making any such announcement is their own business, and we respect that,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Saturday morning.
Blinken was due to visit Beijing on Sunday for talks aimed at reducing U.S.-China tensions, the first such high-profile trip after the countries’ leaders met last November in Indonesia. But the U.S. abruptly canceled the trip after the discovery of the huge balloon despite China’s claim that it was merely a weather research “airship” that had blown off course.
The Chinese statement further expressed regret over the unintended incident and said that it would continue to maintain communications with the U.S.
“China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States by mistake due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the U.S. side to properly handle this accident,” it said.
The Pentagon rejected that out of hand — as well as China’s contention that the balloon was not being used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.
Uncensored reactions on the Chinese internet mirrored the official government stance that the U.S. was hyping up the situation.
The United States took “custody” of the balloon when it entered U.S. airspace on Thursday and had observed it with piloted U.S. military aircraft, a U.S. official said.
U.S. military commanders eventually advised against shooting down the balloon because of the risk to safety from debris, the U.S. official said.