Chinese balloon now over central US as Blinken cancels visit

February 04, 2023

(Feb 2)WASHINGTON (AP) — A huge, high-altitude Chinese balloon sailed across the U.S. on Friday, drawing severe Pentagon accusations of spying and sending excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars. Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing U..S.-China tensions. The cancelation came despite China’s claim that the balloon was a weather research “airship” that had blown off course. Still officials called the presence of the balloon “unacceptable” and one said that message had been delivered by Blinken to Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi on Friday. In a statement that approached an apology, the Chinese foreign ministry said the balloon was a civilian airship used mainly for meteorological research.