Balloon saga deflates efforts to mend US-China relations

As the balloon crashed into the sea so did attempts to mend China-US relations.

You can track the trajectory of China’s response to its balloon just as the Pentagon was tracking the trajectory of a high-altitude piece of equipment destined to be blown out of the sky.

We’re investigating; we regret that it is our weather balloon blown off course; we think US politicians and media are hyping this up; everyone stay calm; the US attack on this airship is a serious violation of international practice.

With Antony Blinken – the US’s top diplomat – scheduled to visit China this week, Beijing had initially tried to reassure Washington this had all been an accident.

But once it became clear that the secretary of state wasn’t coming, and that the balloon was not coming back either, the gloves were off.

It is a long way from where the Chinese government wanted things to be at this moment.

The US Secretary of State was supposed to be here building bridges or at least trying to stop those that…

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