US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s planned China trip will be rescheduled, said White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre in Washington DC on Monday, as she commented on the downing of an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the US coast over the weekend.
Speaking at a press conference, Jean-Pierre stated “Secretary Blinken did postpone his trip, it is not cancelled, and when the time permits we will see that trip back on the books.” She stressed that multiple channels of communication are being maintained with China.
The comments came after an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down off the US coast last week, which the Pentagon says was spying on US military sites, while Beijing claims the aircraft was a weather monitoring device blown off its course. US authorities have launched a search operation in an attempt to recover the wreckage of the ballon as well as the equipment on board.
The spokesperson also announced additional humanitarian support for earthquakes victims in Turkey and Syria saying “Today our deepest condolences are with those who have lost loved ones in the devastating earthquakes that have thus far claimed thousands of lives ad caused massive destruction in Turkey and Syria.“
The White House spokesperson went on saying that the US will send rescue personnel to support the US rescue forces already deployed in Turkey.
A disastrous earthquake struck Turkey and Syria earlier in the day, leaving at least 3,500 confirmed dead at the time of writing.