China will not invite US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Beijing, fearing that the FBI will make public the results of the investigation into the reconnaissance balloon that was shot down by the US military in February. This is reported by the Financial Times.
According to four individuals familiar with the discussions, China informed the United States that it was not ready to select a new date for the trip, which Blinken cancelled in February. However, it remains to be seen what the administration of US President Joe Biden will do with the report, according to the publication’s sources.
According to the publication, Chinese officials fear the US administration will present a report and material evidence from a balloon. The conclusions may be revealed when Blinken arrives in China. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang tried to talk about this with the Americans at the China Development Forum in Beijing in March, as evidenced by three sources who know the details of the meeting. According to the minister, the FBI investigation is another example of the problems that hinder the improvement of relations between China and the United States.
According to the newspaper, some officials in the United States are eager to publish evidence that the balloon was indeed conducting surveillance, and Congress should be expected to decide on the publication of the FBI’s findings. Another reason for the reluctance to see Blinken in China is related to the meeting of American lawmakers, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, with Taiwan’s Chief of Staff Tsai Ing-wen. The diplomatic mission stressed that China might question the FBI investigation’s independence, openness and transparency.
On April 12, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he would head to Beijing when the conditions were ripe. The US administration would like to strengthen communication channels with China.
Blinken stressed the need to continue looking for ways to strengthen US-China communication channels.
The US Secretary of State added that his trip to China was contingent on when conditions were ripe for it, which he was looking forward to.
He says the American and Chinese relationship is “one of the most significant, and also the most difficult.” Blinken noted that they have various aspects, including competition and cooperation, and in some cases, rivalry.
He added that the US has teamed up with partners in Europe and Asia over “some of the challenges coming from China.”
Earlier, White House National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said that the US believes tensions with China are now high.