By: April Carson
On Monday, the Chinese government charged that military balloons carrying surveillance apparatus have been illegally infiltrating its airspace over 10 times since the beginning of this year – a pointed accusation towards America and an exacerbation of tensions between both states. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian further condemned the US for its “illegal and provocative actions”, insisting that they undermine both states’ respective sovereignty. The US military has yet to comment on these allegations.
At a press briefing in Beijing, Wang Wenbin of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that last year alone U.S. high-altitude balloons had illegally flown above China's airspace more than ten times without receiving approval from Chinese authorities. He further contended that it is not uncommon for these American balloons to take advantage and carry out close-up surveillance on China.
These accusations come on the heels of growing tensions between China and America, as well as increasing distrust in bilateral relations. In light of these events, both countries need to remain open to peaceful dialogue and uphold diplomatic protocol while navigating their differences.
When asked by journalists to comment on the claimed U.S. intrusions into Chinese airspace, Wang declared that Beijing's responses were "responsible and professional." He declined to provide any supplementary information regarding these occurrences.
The reports of U.S. espionage activities have been further complicated by the lack of clarity regarding China's actions in the international arena, as well as its recent efforts to expand its air defense zones and territorial claims in East Asia.
After the U.S. military downed a Chinese spy balloon off South Carolina on Feb 4, tensions between the two nations heightened, and Secretary of State Antony Blicken's scheduled visit to Beijing had to be postponed due to this apparent 'clear violation' of American sovereignty and international laws. This massive high-altitude object had been crossing across the continental United States for several days prior, which added more fuel to an already strained US-China relationship.
The US has denied any involvement in the incident, citing a lack of evidence to support China's claims. The Chinese government has stated that they were not able to confirm if the balloon was indeed an American spy device and have asked for further investigation into the matter.
Last month, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder affirmed that the alleged Chinese surveillance device did not present any type of physical or military hazard and that, once it had been discovered, necessary steps were taken to ensure foreign intelligence activities would not be able to acquire sensitive data. Ryder later revealed that China had performed four balloon surveillance missions over U.S. sensitive areas in recent years, but withheld the specific location and time of these occurrences.
At a press conference with NATO's leading representative last week, Blinken uncovered that the United States had concluded the presumed Chinese spy balloon was part of an expansive surveillance program intended to gather intelligence from targets around the world. Blinken stressed that the U.S. will take all measures necessary to protect its sensitive information, including the installation of sophisticated encryption protocols for data storage and communication. He added that international cooperation is needed to prevent the further proliferation of such espionage activities.
This week, senior administration officials are testifying on Capitol Hill to share the information that has already been disseminated worldwide - both from Washington D.C and our global embassies. Blinken stated this confidently in an interview.
In response, the Chinese government has accused Washington of being too quick to point fingers and asserted that the aerostat was an innocent weather balloon "of civilian nature." Despite this assertion, Beijing's officials have remained tight-lipped on which particular firm owned it.
In response to this incident, the US has called for increased international cooperation and greater respect for each other's respective airspace. The US State Department has also reaffirmed its commitment to defending our nation's sovereignty and interests by condemning Chinese actions that demonstrate a disregard for international law or threaten the safety of American citizens.
Following the appearance of another three unidentified flying objects, Washington is preparing to take action against China's alleged transgressions into American airspace. An official from the U.S. Department of State recently disclosed this information in response to questions posed by reporters last week.
It is clear that tensions between the United States and China are intensifying, which makes it all the more important for both countries to find ways to resolve disputes peacefully. The use of spy balloons or other methods of espionage should not be tolerated considering the potential risks they pose.
The U.S. government is taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of its citizens and allies by responding appropriately to any perceived threats from foreign countries, including China. In the coming days, it will be important for both sides to continue dialogues to reach a diplomatic solution that is beneficial for all parties involved.
When asked about reports indicating the Chinese military was planning to shoot down an airborne object near Qingdao in Shandong province, Wang evaded the inquiry.
"I'm not well-versed in the other alleged UFOs," he asserted. "What I can tell you is that the US often deploys cutting-edge missiles to combat unknown aircraft, which is an extreme and disproportionate response."
The United States has remained adamant that the surveillance balloons were not meant to be a threat and are part of an effort to keep China and its citizens safe. US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad insisted that the spy balloons have been deployed in other countries, including Russia and North Korea, as well.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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