Blinken speaks to Chinese diplomat about spy balloon, Russia

by Jacob Fuller

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News

Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed two major tensions — the Chinese spy balloon and Russia — in a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday in the first meeting between the countries’ high-ranking government officials since the U.S. destruction of the balloon on Feb. 4.

Blinken “condemned” the Chinese balloon and warned against any Chinese military provisions to Russia according to a statement released on social media:

State Department spokesman Ned Price provided more details on the meeting in the “margins of the Munich Security Conference.”

“The Secretary directly spoke to the unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law by the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] high-altitude surveillance balloon in U.S. territorial airspace, underscoring that this irresponsible act must never again occur,” Price said.

On the subject of Russia, Price said that Blinken warned there would be “implications and consequences” if China materially supported Russia or assisted with sanctions evasions.

Finally, the Secretary stressed that the U.S. would compete with China but did not want a “new Cold War” with the PRC.

The readout and tweet notably left out Wang’s side of the conversation.

“Number one, did it begin with an apology for the balloon?” NBC New’s Chuck Todd asked in the interview segment that aired on Meet the Press yesterday morning.

Blinken answered that “there was no apology.”

Blinken also revealed that the U.S. has “very real concerns about China’s support” for Russia’s war against Ukraine based on their history of political and non-lethal support.

“And some further information that we are sharing today and that I think will be out there soon that indicates that they are strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia,” Blinken said to Todd.

He did not reveal what information the statement was based on. However, he did say that U.S. intelligence does not believe Beijing has already crossed the line of providing military arms to Moscow.

Blinken also did not elaborate on what “serious consequences” would mean if China did send lethal aid to Russia.

Four other U.S. officials repeated similar accusations in an NBC News exclusive report on Saturday. The concern stems from the “no limits” partnership signed by China and Russia in February 2022. Russia then invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.


China has publicly rebuked U.S. leaders for their warnings.

“The U.S. is not qualified to give orders to China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing yesterday. “We will never accept U.S. criticism, even coercion and pressure on China-Russia relations.”

Wang then said China’s official stance on Ukraine was on “promoting peace talks” and playing a “constructive part in easing the situation.”

A PRC foreign ministry statement further warned the U.S. not to escalate the controversy over the downed Chinese balloon.

“If the U.S. insists on taking advantage of the issue, escalating the hype, and expanding the situation, China will follow through to the end, and the U.S. will bear all the consequences,” this statement reads.

Beijing has denied that the balloon was part of a surveillance program.

Ahead of the meeting, Wang called destroying the balloon with a missile an “absurd and hysterical” response.