China confirms it rejected US request for defense ministers to meet after Chinese balloon downed

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The US military on Saturday shot down a Chinese balloon that the Pentagon believed to be a spy balloon – which Beijing says was being used to collect weather data – and deviated from its course.

China confirmed today that it refused a phone call from US Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin after the downing of a Chinese balloon flying in US airspace, once again denouncing an “irresponsible” action.

The US military shot down a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, which the Pentagon believed to be a spy.

Beijing, for its part, maintains that it was a balloon used for political purposes, to collect meteorological data, and deviated from its course.

After the balloon was shot down, China refused Austin’s phone call to his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, Washington had announced. Today, Beijing confirmed this information and once again denounced the use of force against the balloon.

“This irresponsible and deeply wrong action did not create a climate suitable for dialogue and exchanges between the two militaries,” the Chinese Ministry of Defense explained in a statement.

“The US insisted on using force against a Chinese balloon that was being used for political purposes, which is completely contrary to international practices and sets a bad precedent,” the ministry said.

“China reserves its right to use all necessary means in a corresponding situation,” the statement added.

For his part, American President Joe Biden assured that he “does not seek conflict” with China in an interview he gave to the American television network PBS.

RES-EMP

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