United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed an official visit to China, scheduled to start on Friday, calling an alleged spy balloon over his country an “unacceptable” violation.

Blinken said that the high-altitude surveillance balloon flying over the continental US “created conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip”. He informed China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, in a call Friday morning that he was postponing the trip.

The decision was made after high-level conversations were held between Blinken, President Joe Biden and other top national security officials.



White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden was advised by military leaders not to shoot down the balloon because of the risk to the safety and security of the people on ground.

China, however, has said that the balloon was a “civilian airship” used mainly for weather research that deviated from its planned course.