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China Moves From Contrite to Confrontational Over US Balloon

  • Beijing trades barbs with Washington instead of holding talks
  • Episode risks wasting narrow window to improve US-China ties
Bloomberg business news
WATCH: The US shot down an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast on Saturday, injecting new tension into relations with Beijing.Source: Bloomberg
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Beijing’s abrupt shift from expressing regret to threatening retaliation over the US’s spy-balloon claims reflects the domestic imperative for Xi Jinping to show he’s standing up for China against external pressure, further narrowing the window to reset ties before the US election season gets into full swing.

This weekend was supposed to be a step forward, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken arriving in Beijing for the first such visit in more than four years. But the dispute meant it was spent trading barbs real and figurative, as an F-22 Raptor blasted the high-tech Chinese balloon out of the sky off the coast of South Carolina with a single Aim-9X Sidewinder missile.