National Security Adviser Tells China, U.S. Wants to “Move Beyond” Spy Balloon

May 12, 2023

White House National Security Adviser held unpublicized talks with China’s Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Wang Yi in Vienna earlier this week.

During the talks on Wednesday and Thursday, Sullivan told Wang the U.S. is “looking to move beyond” the tensions spurred by the U.S. military’s downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon over South Carolinian waters in February after it had crossed the continental U.S.

Discussions between Sullivan and Wang were reportedly wide-ranging, with the White House saying Friday that the pair spent more than eight hours together in a “candid” and “constructive” exchange. 

One Biden Administration official told reporters that both sides had recognized the February incident was “unfortunate” and are now looking to “reestablish standard, normal channels of communications.”

In a statement, the White House said the meeting was part of “ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition.”

The White House went on to say that Sullivan and Wang discussed key issues in the U.S.-China relationship, including Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and tensions surrounding Taiwan.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, Beijing officials saw the “discussions as “substantive” and said both sides would “continue to make good use of this channel of strategic communication.”

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