Last month, a suspected Chinese spy balloon captured the nation’s attention.
BY RYAN CHO ’25
Tensions between the U.S. and China have been rising daily since the recent incident involving a Chinese spy balloon. Spotted from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4 of 2023, the balloon flew over Alaska to South Carolina, where the U.S. Air Force finally shot it down.
In response, China has made allegations against the United States, stating that they reserve the right to take further actions for the shooting down of the balloon. This sentiment was echoed through China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense, meaning China is ready to take action against the U.S.
Due to the response from China, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was prompted to delay a diplomatic visit to Beijing. Before this, the last visit was in 2018.
However, it is not just U.S.-China relations that have worsened, as Canada-China tensions have also increased. When the balloon was first spotted in Alaska, it floated down south, reaching South Carolina after passing through western Canada. As a result, Canada summoned the Chinese ambassador over the incident. Meanwhile, the remains of the balloon were recovered and sent to an FBI Laboratory in Virginia for analysis.
After investigation, the American and Canadian militaries announced that the balloon was for surveillance, despite China’s claims that the balloon was a civilian airship that had just blown off course. The contents were nothing like a typical civilian device, however, as it was capable of geolocating electronic communications.
More balloons were also found across the globe, with China admitting that a balloon passing over Latin America was theirs.
China’s surveillance over the U.S. did not just worsen the situation between the U.S. and China, but also with the U.S. and President Joe Biden. Republicans around the U.S. are saying that Joe Biden was “weak on China” according to The New York Times.
Overall, the surveillance balloons that China has launched around the world may have consequences for the future of the U.S.
and its relationship with China.