China trip: Blinken postpones diplomatic visit following balloon discovery
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a planned high-stakes weekend diplomatic trip to China as the Biden administration weighs a broader response to the discovery of a high-altitude Chinese balloon flying over sensitive sites in the western United States, a US official said.
The abrupt decision comes despite China’s claim that the balloon was a weather research satellite that had blown off course.
The US has described it as a surveillance satellite.
The decision came just hours before Mr Blinken had been due to depart Washington for Beijing and marked a new blow to already strained US-Chinese relations.
Officials said Mr Blinken and President Joe Biden determined it was best not to proceed with the trip at this time.