News analysis

Chinese ‘spy’ balloon a spanner in US-China ties, but lines of communication stay open

A suspected Chinese spy balloon in the sky over Billings, Montana, on Feb 1, 2023. PHOTO: AFP
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WASHINGTON – A huge Chinese balloon drifting in the stratosphere some 60,000ft above central United States has put a spanner in what many hoped was budding detente between China and the United States, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelling a much-anticipated trip to Beijing this weekend.

But there are hopes that the pause may be temporary.

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