US, France, Germany agree to act in unison on China

WASHINGTON D.C.: The White House has said that during a meeting in Munich to discuss challenges posed by China, US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to remain closely aligned on their strategies.

The White House statement said that during the meeting, held alongside the Munich Security Conference, Harris "discussed challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, including the importance of upholding the rules-based order, and agreed to remain closely aligned."

The meetings come amid a dispute between China and the US over the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina early this month. China claimed the balloon was used for monitoring the weather.

In an interview with MSNBC, Harris defended the shooting down of the balloon, as well as three other unidentified objects, stating, "It needed to be shot down because we were confident that it was used by China to spy on the American people."

Earlier, the White House said that while contact between the countries’ militaries remained shut down, US diplomatic communications with China remain open, despite the shooting down of the Chinese balloon.

After an August visit to Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory, by then-US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China closed several military-to-military communication channels and other areas of bilateral dialogue.