The world community is divided in how closely it is watching the US and China’s high-stakes conflict as their rift over the balloon incident grows.
The most recent discussion occurred on Friday, when US President Joe Biden insisted he would “make no apologies” for taking down the purported Chinese surveillance balloon. The Chinese foreign ministry later stated that the US “cannot seek for talks while escalating tensions.”
Even as the US continues to provide additional information about the object to support their charge, China continues to refute the claim that they launched a spy balloon.
The world is debating the incident’s ramifications for national security and global stability, but beyond the argument, how Beijing and Washington have responded to one another has drawn close scrutiny.
The end consequence, according to analysts, has been a hardening of opinions, a deepening of mistrust among those leery of China or the US, and a substantial difficulty in bridging the gap between Washington and Beijing.
What has China said in response to the balloon saga?
An effort to improve US-China relations is undermined by the balloon saga.
Governments are scrambling to reevaluate what they know about China’s monitoring capabilities as a result of the incident, which has increased concerns among some about the scope of Chinese espionage.
Japan, a crucial ally of the US, stated this week that they “seriously think” China has flown at least three spy balloons over their land January 2019. China has been a frequent violator of US sanctions against the country.
Unnamed Taiwanese officials were cited in a Financial Times article as suggesting that the island, which is a claimed by China and another American ally, had been spied on by numerous Chinese military balloons.
Later, the Taiwanese defense ministry confirmed that it had merely seen Chinese weather balloons – on Friday, it discovered the remains of one such object – but it also issued a warning that it would not hesitate to fire down any suspected military aircraft that entered its airspace.
“Prior to this, other states were unsure about how to interpret it. As a result, it reveals a vacuum in understanding on the part of other states, and it is not surprise that China has sought to exploit the gap “According to Dr. Ian Chong, a non-resident scholar at Carnegie China.
The event has revealed a lack of understanding of China’s monitoring capabilities and the lengths Beijing would take to demonstrate them, according to those who are convinced of the American charges.
It “certainly indicates the People’s Liberation Army feels they can justify absolutely any technology and any mission, that they can do anything to increase China’s ability to project power, conduct surveillance, and hold the US at risk,” said Mr. Drew Thompson, a former official of the US Department of Defense and a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore.
According to Mr. Thompson, this was done “regardless of the ramifications to China’s reputation, its obligation and adherence to international law, and without considering the merits of acting with caution.”
Mr. Thompson noted that there hasn’t been a coordinated outcry and response from the international community, and that this showed “a fragility of international law” and was “a monument to China’s capacity to prevent other countries from criticizing them” and could result in a more dangerous world.
According to some analysts, Beijing’s actions in the affair have harmed its own efforts to gain confidence and provide the picture of a superpower that is responsible.
China has not yet provided information proving that the balloon was a civilian meteorological airship, such as the name of the business that operated it. According to Dr. Chong, the lack of transparency has simply raised further concerns and made people who were already dubious about the situation even more so.
He went on to say that it was also “confusing” as Beijing had subsequently claimed that the US had previously flown more than ten spy balloons into China, a charge that Washington has refuted.
Dr. Chong questioned, “Is China proposing that launching numerous balloons over one another’s territory has been a recognized practice? If so, that would run counter to Beijing’s long-standing emphasis on the respect for sovereignty.
According to Mr. Thompson, the assertion can be viewed as China trying to avoid responsibility and participating in “whataboutism,” which is the practice of making a countercharge in response to an accusation.
But, some people—particularly those who support China—have been alarmed by how the US has responded.
This week, US authorities acknowledged that three further objects they had shot out of the sky over North America were not likely to be foreign spy planes. During that period, they “could not rule out the surveillance risk of sensitive facilities,” according to Mr. Biden, who justified the action as being required to protect commercial air traffic.
An “overreaction” to the shootings that may be interpreted as the US “becoming increasingly frantic,” according to Victor Gao, vice president of the Beijing-based research tank Center for China and Globalization.
“China has acted in a very responsible and professional manner, explaining the circumstances to the US and the rest of the world and requesting cooperation rather than conflict. As opposed to the US’s jingoism, where they should keep in mind that they are shooting down a Chinese item and not buffalo in the Wild West, “he stated
Other people have commended the US’ handling of the issue; Australia’s deputy prime minister Richard Marles called shooting down the Chinese balloon “a pretty measured manner” to respond to the intrusion. It is evident that the balloon blow-up has made reconciliation even more difficult as both sides have doubled down.
Mr. Gao cautioned that for the Chinese, the shootdown and Mr. Biden’s lack of repentance have established a precedent.
“They would have to be ready for similar acts of reprisal against comparable objects in Chinese space. If such a regrettable occurrence occurs again, don’t whine that China doesn’t apologize “he remarked
He emphasized that it might even encourage China to take a tougher position against US aircraft and ships in areas of the world’s oceans and airspace that Beijing claims as its own, like Taiwan.
Often, the US Navy sends its warships through the Taiwan Strait to carry out what it refers to as “freedom of navigation” drills.
Nonetheless, there are indications of a readiness to interact.
The first high-level meeting between the two since the conflict started is rumored to occur this weekend in Munich, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are expected to meet outside of a security conference.
When news of the Chinese balloon first surfaced this month, Mr. Blinken canceled his long-anticipated trip to Beijing.
Also, Mr. Biden has declared that he will speak with Mr. Xi about the event soon on the phone.
aaa aa aaaaaaa The question at hand as the balloon drama continues is how much political capital both presidents would be prepared to commit in order to reduce hostilities.