US-China relations Decisively Damaged by Spy Balloon. Here’s what happened

Lorenzo Bagnato

6 Febbraio 2023 - 13:24

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After shooting down the Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States, animosity between the two countries is rising again.

US-China relations Decisively Damaged by Spy Balloon. Here's what happened

Any hopes of a diplomatic ease in tensions between China and the United States are completely scratched off for now. The reason is, obviously, the ominous Chinese spy balloon that hovered over the continental United States during the weekend.

Eventually, once it reached the Atlantic side of the US, the balloon was shot down and retrieved by the American military. Shooting it down while still flying over land would have been a dangerous endeavor for civilian life underneath.

Another Chinese reconnaissance balloon has been observed over the South American continent, and is currently being closely followed by the Pentagon.

The purpose for the balloon is not yet clear to the general public. Its trajectory seems to be too precise to be casual, having flown over important military bases. One of them was the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, home to hundreds of American missile launcher silos.

Further, once the United States Army made it clear their intention of shooting down the balloon, it suddenly took up speed flying away from the East Coast.

The balloon was first noticed when it entered Alaska’s airspace. At the time, nobody thought much of it as it was hovering above sparsely populated land. Once in Canada, however, the balloon suddenly changed course and targeted the continental United States.

This incident will obviously hinder China-America relations for the time being.

A difficult road to peace

United States president Joe Biden has tried many times now to achieve a diplomatic understanding with China. He met with his Chinese counterpart, president Xi Jinping, at the Bali G20 meeting back in November.

Then, the two defined their respective red lines not to cross to maintain the status quo. Specifically, Biden and Xi discussed Taiwan, chips and trade.

And the difficult dialogue should have continued this very week, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s official visit to Beijing. It would have been the highest official in this administration to visit China so far.

But the balloon accident had Blinken postpone his visit, souring relationships between the two most important nations in the world.

China urged calm on the part of the United States, saying that shooting down the balloon was an “overreaction”. “What I want to emphasize regarding this unexpected accident is that both sides, especially the U.S., should remain calm,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

However, this accident is too serious to just be forgotten. The airspace of a sovereign country has been irredeemably and conclusively violated by a spy vessel. Any nation would demand rightful compensation for this act, and the United States will likely follow suit.

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