China Threatens Action After US Shoots Down Chinese ‘Spy Balloon’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BEIJING (Worthy News) – U.S.-Sino tensions are rising, with China’s government threatening to retaliate after the United States shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew across the nation for days, including over sensitive American nuclear sites.
China called the downing of the “civilian” aircraft an “excessive reaction” and said it “retains the right to respond further” without elaborating. Beijing denied that the massive orb, as big as three buses and complete with a technology bay, was a spying spheroid.
Hours after the balloon was struck by a Sidewinder missile and crumpled into the waters off South Carolina, the Chinese Foreign Ministry declared its “strong discontent and protest.”
The Ministry stressed that it was a “civilian research airship” blown way off course by fierce winds. Washington, not Beijing, had broken the rules, the ministry said, although the aircraft entered U.S. airspace without permission.
“The Chinese side clearly requested that the U.S. appropriately deal with this in a calm, professional, and restrained manner,” added the statement from the Chinese ministry on Sunday. “For the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction.”
However, commentators had warned that doing nothing could be perceived by Beijing as a sign of weakness when the U.S. and China move to a possible military confrontation over Taiwan.
Beijing views Taiwan as part of China’s territory, while the U.S. maintains that the democratic island should be allowed to govern itself without Chinese oversight.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Joe “Biden administration’s weakness is provocative” and later said that “China could already have gathered intelligence for days” with the balloon.
However, China was later baffled by the bipartisan pressure on President Biden to take action. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pulled out of his trip to China, citing anger over the balloon.
The Chinese government had hoped the talks this week in Beijing could help to at least contain tensions over several issues, including U.S. supper for Taiwan that Beijing wants to accept unification.
Other topics high on the agenda were technology barriers and bans and Western opposition to hard-line Chinese policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
It was not clear when these talks would resume, but some have suggested that Blinken should visit Taiwan first in a message to China that the U.S. maintains its presence in the region.
President Joe Biden had been accused of being reluctant to be tough on China as his son Hunter and brother James Biden face scrutiny over their business deals in China and Ukraine.
The New York Post paper in October 2020 first reported laptop documents linking Joe Biden to these businesses.
Other major news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS, belatedly authenticated copies from the laptop last year.
Yet Biden waited to down the suspected Chinese spy balloon, floating around at 60,000 feet, because he feared causalities on the ground from falling debris, officials said.
Eventually, U.S. military fighter aircraft fired at the orb over water as it floated off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday. “We successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” President Joe Biden said.
An operation has been underway to recover the balloon’s debris from learning more about what Chinese authorities may have learned about U.S. military capabilities, officials suggested.
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