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China Declines U.S. Call Request After Spy Balloon Downed

China declined a request for a call between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.

Microphone in front of the flag of China and US
Microphone in front of the flag of China and US

The balloon was brought down by a U.S. Air Force fighter jet off the South Carolina coast after it entered U.S. airspace.

U.S. Commits to Open Communication

The Pentagon submitted the request for a call after the balloon was downed, but China declined. According to Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the U.S. remains committed to open lines of communication.

Sino-U.S. Relations Not Weakened

The balloon incident caused a political uproar in the U.S. and led to the cancellation of a planned trip to Beijing by U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken. Despite this, the White House downplayed any significant impact on U.S.-China relations, and President Biden stated that the issue had not weakened relations.

Efforts to Improve Communication

In November, Austin emphasized the need for improved crisis communication when meeting Wei in Cambodia. Despite tensions, U.S. military officials have sought to maintain open communication with China to avoid potential conflicts. However, China has previously declined Austin's calls. Relations between the U.S. and China have been tense, with conflicts over Taiwan, human rights, and military activity in the South China Sea.