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Breaking! US halts Blinken China visit after spy balloon row

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a trip to China after a Chinese spy balloon was discovered flying across the US.

Mr Blinken was expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, and potentially with President Xi Jinping.

The visit would have come amid fraying tensions between the two countries.

China has said the balloon is used for meteorological research and deviated from its route because of bad weather.

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A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry said that it “regrets” the incident and will work with the US to resolve the issue.

The official added that Washington planned to maintain “open lines of communication” about the incident, which was described as “a clear violation” of US sovereignty.

While the official said that the US had acknowledged China’s claim about the balloon’s purpose, it stands by the Department of Defense assessment that it was being used for surveillance.

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Mr Blinken’s visit was expected to take place on 5 and 6 February.

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