Wang Yi urges US to 'change course' on airship incident during informal meeting with Blinken
Published: Feb 19, 2023 01:39 PM
China US File Photo:CFP

China US File Photo:CFP

At the request of the US side, China's top diplomat Wang Yi held an informal meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday local time on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) where the Chinese official urged the US side to correct its mistakes as its handling of the recent airship incident has damaged to China-US relations. 

Wang, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, stated China's solemn position on the airship incident, and told Blinken that the US should face up to and fix the damage inflicted on bilateral relations after the US abused its force and shot down a Chinese civilian airship that strayed into US airspace due to force majeure, according to a statement on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday. 

On Saturday, Wang blasted Washington's reaction to the balloon incident, calling its handling of the matter "hysterical," and apparently violating international norms and conventions.

Considering that the US handling of the incident has caused damage to the bilateral ties, arranging such interaction amid a deteriorating atmosphere was not easy, some Chinese observers said. But the Chinese side still accepted the request from the US side from the point of view of stabilizing the bilateral ties, which will be conducive to the global stability. 

"The informal contact means that the two sides hold open attitude to meet but without high expectations for reaching a consensus on certain subject," Sun Chenghao, a research fellow from the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

China's position on the US is consistent, as we have been urging it to correct its mistakes because the US side has put in place provocative polices on many fronts. If they really want the US-China relations to return to the correct track, the US side needs to show more sincerity, Sun said. 

During the MSC, Wang told the audience when asked about the China-US relations that the airship incident is actually a political farce created by the US. The US ignored the basic facts and dispatched military jets to shoot down a non-threatening airship with missile, which is unbelievable, almost hysterical and absolutely an abuse of force, clearly violating relevant international conventions. 

"China will never accept this and has lodged strong protests with the US," Wang said. There are many balloons floating above the Earth every day, is the US going to shoot them all down? The Chinese diplomat asked. 

Wang also noted that the underlying reason behind this incident is that the US has engaged in misunderstanding and strategic misjudgments when it comes to China. 

China's US policy is clear and transparent, that is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. On the back of these principles, China is willing to work with the US to jointly explore how major powers of different systems can coexist with each other. However, the US response is China constitutes a severe "geopolitical challenge," a "long-term competitor" or even a "threat."

Built on an incorrect perception of China, the US is using all means to crack down on China and coerce other countries to follow suit, Wang continued.

Under such circumstances, China is still willing to communicate with the US, which also showed that China hopes to stabilize the bilateral ties from the point of view of safeguarding the global peace, security and prosperity, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

"But it does not mean that China-US relations will return to normal. The US needs to reflect on its incorrect perception of China and correct its mistakes first before the bilateral relations move forward in a correct direction," Diao said.