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.