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Beyond the China balloon?

The Chinese balloon which was first shot out of the sky off South Carolina on 4 February 2023 has now triggered a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Beijing.

1 min read
Chinese balloon high over US stirs unease down below [ Photo Credit: AP]

The flavour of the month is not Ukraine, but China, the pundits in the West, state Chinese State intelligence gathering has grown in ambition and scale, leaving the West to catch up.

The Chinese balloon which was first shot out of the sky off South Carolina on 4 February 2023 has now triggered a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Beijing. But the subsequent “hysteria” has led to at least three more unidentified being also shot down.

President Biden has said that the Yukon Territory, Canada and those taken down over, Deadhorse, in far Northern Alaska and Lake Huron in the US since the Chinese balloon incident, were not thought to be surveillance vehicles. They seem to be called UFO’s or UAP’s, perhaps sent up by balloon hobbyists in the US. Note the pun in “dead horse”.

Speaking in Japan, Liz Truss in her first public speech since her resignation addressing the Inter –Parliamentary Alliance on China has called on the international community to agree on a coordinated package of defence, economic and political issues on China’s back yard, Taiwan.

More hawkish Conservative MP’s have called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reclassify China as a threat, instead of a “systemic competitor”. P.M. Sunak has tried a new way to keep lines open with China for his own reasons, although he originally wanted to placate the hawks in his party,

According to Hindustan Times, China has specified American high altitude spy balloons have flown in Xinjiang and Tibetan skies as well, at unspecified times. China has also vowed to take counter measures against US entries, which undermine Chinese sovereignty,

What is all this spat about?

What the balloon crisis exposed, Washington’s heightened sense of alert as the standoff over the balloon delays were efforts to re-set bilateral relations, according to Reuters.

While US is blowing hot and cold with Vice President Kamala Harris warning against Chinese support for Russia in Ukraine, President Biden has said he does not believe relations between the two countries, US and China, were weakened by the incident.

We note that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who postponed a planned trip to Beijing over the balloon, is considering meeting Chinese top diplomat, Wang Yi in Munich this weekend.

At the same time Japan and China hold security talks on the side lines of Munich Security Conference on 18 February 2023.

In a word, the balloon incident is the over-reacting whether China is provoking a new war in the Indo-Pacific region, some say as evidence in the South China Seas off Philippines, on 5 February 2023.

A new world order is in the making?

A new axis of World Powers – China, Russia and Iran is coming into being. Although some analysts say it is a myth, we may soon see the formation of an informal “alliance of convenience” between these three nations, perhaps, not to join in the Ukrainian war, but for other reasons best known to themselves.

Victor Cherubim

Victor Cherubim is a London-based writer and a frequent columnist of the Sri Lanka Guardian

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