China declined US request for call between defense chiefs after balloon shootdown

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China declined a request for a phone call between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after Washington brought down a Chinese spy balloon, a Pentagon spokesperson said. | Reuters

The balloon caused a political uproar in Washington and prompted the top US diplomat, Antony Blinken, to cancel a Sunday-Monday tip to Beijing that both countries had hoped would steady their rocky relations.

The White House has downplayed any drastic effect the incident would have on US-China relations. Biden himself said on Monday that the issue had not weakened relations.

 

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