After the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, China sees serious damage to relations.
Beijing/Washington, DC – The balloon affair has poisoned the atmosphere between the US and China. After the spectacular launch of a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the US coast, China has once again intensified its criticism of the United States. In protest, the State Department summoned the chargé d’affaires of the US embassy in Beijing.
Espionage: Balloon without controls – According to China, the US is distorting the facts
The penetration of the balloon was only an “accident” that happened due to “force majeure”. The balloon was said to have drifted far off course due to westerly wind drift and a lack of control options. “The facts are clear and cannot be twisted.” Despite this, the US “played deaf” and insisted on “abusing force against a civilian airship that was about to leave US airspace.”
Spy balloon shot down at high altitude over the US: China claims it is completely innocent
Launching the spy balloon at high altitude was an “obvious overreaction” and violated “the spirit of international law and norms.” The Chinese government reserves the right to respond as necessary, a foreign ministry spokesman said in Beijing. In an editorial in the Chinese state newspaper China Daily it said the US had turned the incident into a “Hollywood blockbuster”.
China expert Bill Bishop assesses the situation differently. “I don’t think the (Chinese) leadership understands what a big political issue this spy balloon in (Washington) DC is becoming,” Bishop wrote on Twitter. “It darkens an already intensely somber mood in the Capitol.” In Congress on Tuesday (February 7), US President Joe Biden will deliver his annual State of the Union address.
Blinken cancels China visit because of spy balloon
The Biden administration accuses China of an “unacceptable violation” of US sovereignty. The balloon was supposed to spy on strategically important military locations. After the launch, a senior Pentagon official said recovery of the balloon was in full swing. The United States hopes to get more information about the mission from the devices. The balloon was sighted in the US state of Montana near a US air force base, where ICBMs equipped with nuclear warheads are stored.
In response, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his expected visit to Beijing at short notice on Friday (February 3). It would have been the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China since 2018. According to media reports, Blinken should also have been received by China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping.
Chinese state media accused Blinken of using the balloon as an excuse to cancel. In any case, a Beijing foreign ministry spokesman went on the offensive: “Some politicians and media in the USA have taken advantage of the situation to attack China and bring it into disrepute.”
US-China relationship in shambles after spy balloon shot down
Relations between the two countries have fallen to their lowest level since diplomatic relations were established in 1979 and are in ruins. China’s backing for Russia’s war in Ukraine, its claims in the South China Sea, US high-tech export controls, and the trade war are at odds. A US general recently thought a war with China over Taiwan was possible as early as 2025. (cs/dpa)
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