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High-altitude surveillance — even balloons — is nothing new. So why the fuss?

There are hundreds of satellites spying on the US, China and Russia, to name just a few countries, so a well-tracked balloon was hardly a threat.


It was a darkly comic, made-for-media case: a Chinese hot air balloon flying about 20 kilometres over American soil, shot down by a US fighter jet over the weekend. It ignited a fairly confused diplomatic crisis, with China now saying it reserves the right to a response, and has laid bare the fragile state of relations between the world’s two most powerful nations.

The mere existence of the balloon — China claims it was a civilian weather-monitoring device, but the US is convinced it was spying, possibly on nuclear facilities — saw US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancel his planned visit to meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. 

It’s a worrying setback in efforts by the US and China to steady a relationship tattered by Chinese adventurism — of which the balloon is yet another example — and US determination to contain China’s rise, particularly regarding the technology underpinning,………… (Subscribers only)………..


February 9, 2023 - Posted by | spinbuster, USA

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