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U.S.-China Ties Strained as Spy Balloon Sparks Diplomatic Uproar

February 6, 2023 | By Kali Girl

Diplomatic tensions rise after U.S. shoots down Chinese spy balloon, according to CNBC. On Saturday, an American F-22 Raptor used a single missile to take down what the Defense Department referred to as a “high-altitude surveillance balloon” off the coast of South Carolina.

The US military will now focus on retrieving parts of the craft from a debris field that covers approximately 7 nautical miles. Beijing officials have since criticized the move.

Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry, described the action as “a clear overreaction.” China’s Foreign Ministry added that it was “a serious violation of international customary practice.” 

China claimed the orb was for research and weather monitoring. However, according to Politico, a senior Defense Department official revealed that Chinese spy balloons entered US airspace three times during the Trump administration. The officials did not provide information on how the events were discovered after they occurred.

Republicans criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the days-long spectacle. However, President Biden explained, the strike order was given after Wednesday’s briefing but the final decision on timing over the waters was made by Pentagon, with civilian safety as the objective.

The impact of this incident on diplomacy remains uncertain, and questions linger about whether the military involvement was truly necessary or simply a display of force.

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