As tensions between the United States and China continue to rise, a recent incident involving a Chinese spy balloon has only added fuel to the fire. On Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry strongly disapproved of and protested the U.S. decision to shoot down the balloon, which had been in U.S. airspace for the past several days. The ministry warned that it may take unspecified “responses” to that action.
China’s government, led by Xi Jinping, has accused the U.S. of pouncing on news of the balloon’s presence and overreacting with the use of force. The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the U.S. of the balloon’s civilian nature, and has asked the U.S. to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional, and restrained manner.
In response, the U.S. Department of Defense noted that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Meanwhile, China’s state-owned news services have accused the U.S. military and media of using the balloon’s presence to start “hyping” the China threat.
The incident has been mirrored in China’s official government response, as well as in the Global Times, another Chinese state-owned news outlet. The Times reported that China is expressing its “strong dissatisfaction and protest” against the U.S. for shooting down “China’s civilian airship.”
The incident has caused Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s embassy in the U.S. reported that Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of China’s Central Committee, spoke to Blinken and urged the U.S. to be more sincere in finding solutions instead of making more provocations.
It remains to be seen how the U.S. and China will handle this incident, and if it will have any further implications on the already strained relationship between the two countries.