US postpones China trip after discovering suspected spy balloon

The US has postponed a high-stakes diplomatic trip to China after discovering a Chinese balloon flying over Montana suspected to be spying.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to leave Washington, DC, for Beijing on Friday. The decision to delay the visit was made hours before his planned departure, an administration official said.

China claimed that the balloon was a weather research satellite that blew off course. But the US, which announced the discovery of the balloon on Thursday, has assessed it as a surveillance satellite.

Blinken was scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gan, and potentially Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

President Joe Biden decided it would be better not to go ahead with the high-stakes trip, according to the administration official.

While delivering remarks on the January jobs report from the White House on Friday morning, Biden declined to answer any questions from reporters that were not about the economy.

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