[Central News Agency] A senior official of the U.S. State Department said today that in view of the fact that China's high-altitude reconnaissance balloon entered the U.S. airspace, which clearly violated U.S. sovereignty and violated international law, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken decided to postpone his planned weekend visit to China until the situation permits.

Antony Blinken was originally scheduled to visit China for the first time as Secretary of State from February 5 to 6. During the period, it was reported that he planned to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Collection of sensitive information, and temporarily postponed.

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A senior official of the U.S. State Department stated in a telephone briefing today that Blinken was originally scheduled to leave for China tonight, but the Pentagon discovered last night that a Chinese high-altitude reconnaissance balloon entered the U.S. airspace. In order to protect sensitive information, the U.S. immediately took action through different The highest level communicates directly with the Chinese government and at the same time informs allies of the matter.

The official said that after consulting with interdepartmental partners and the U.S. Congress, it was decided that the Secretary of State is not suitable to visit China at present; Visit China as soon as the situation permits.

In response to China's claim that the balloons are for civilian use, the official stressed that the U.S. side has seen Beijing's "regret" statement, but the balloon's entry into U.S. airspace clearly violates U.S. sovereignty and international law. "It is unacceptable that this happened."

He also said that the United States is confident in its own assessment, implying that it has not accepted China's statement.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted on the evening of the 3rd that the balloon came from China, but claimed that it was of a civilian nature and was used for scientific research such as meteorology. It was seriously deviated from the scheduled route due to the influence of the westerly winds, and "expressed regret" that the balloon entered the United States due to force majeure.

The Washington Post quoted Christopher Johnstone, a former White House aide and former CIA officer, as saying that he was surprised that the U.S. delayed official visits to China because of the balloon incident. A "gloomy mood" about the direction of US-China relations.

Former CIA chief of staff Larry Pfeiffer pointed out in an interview that if Blinken still visits China as planned, it will be tantamount to "rewarding China's bad behavior" and may be "eat alive" by Republicans.

(Editor: Xu Ruicheng) 1120204