US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, July 9, 2022.

Stephanie Reynolds | AP

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken met on Saturday with a senior Chinese diplomat at a conference in Munich, a State Department spokesman said.

Blinken and Wang Yi, head of the People’s Republic of China’s CCP Central Foreign Office, met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, which both are attending, the spokesman said.

Blinken did not respond to questions from reporters later Saturday.

Diplomatic tensions between the US and China have risen since the downing of the alleged Chinese spy balloon, which China has insisted was not intended for espionage.

The US and China exchanged strong words after the balloon was downed off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, with China’s Foreign Ministry expressing its “strong displeasure and protest over the US use of force” in a statement.

Defense Minister Lloyd Austin said afterward that the balloon was being used by the People’s Republic of China “in an effort to monitor strategic locations in the continental United States.”

After China condemned the US decision to shoot the balloon out of the sky, President Joe Biden said in an interview with NBC News Thursday that he plans to talk to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping but did not say as he added: “I think the last thing Xi wants is to fundamentally tear up the relationship with the United States and with me.”

Earlier on Thursday, Biden delivered his first comments about the Chinese balloon and three unidentified objects that flew over North America and were shot down by the US military. One was shot down on February 10 over Alaska, another was shot down on February 11 over Canada, and a third was shot down over Lake Huron on February 12.

“I gave the order to take down these three items because of dangers to civilian commercial air traffic and because we could not rule out the surveillance risk to sensitive facilities,” he said in his remarks from the White House. “Make no mistake, if any item poses a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down.”

Biden said the United States still does not know what the three other objects over North America, also shot down by the military this week, were. But he suggested that US intelligence believes they had no nefarious intentions.

“We’re not looking for another Cold War, but I’m not apologizing,” Biden said. “I’m not apologizing, and we’re going to compete and we’re going to responsibly manage that competition so it doesn’t come into conflict.”

US Northern Command said Friday that it recommended ending the search for debris from two objects shot down in US airspace this month.

Earlier this month, Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing after the balloon was spotted over the U.S. “We have concluded that conditions are not right at this moment for Secretary Blinken to travel to China,” a senior State Department official said.