The U.S. Navy says an RC-135 fighter jet is not dangerously close to an Air Force reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea
BEIJING — The U.S. military says a Chinese navy fighter jet flew dangerously close to an Air Force reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea earlier this month, forcing the American pilot to maneuver to avoid a collision.
On December 21, a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the nose of an RC-135 Rivet Joint, a US Air Force reconnaissance plane with about 30 people on board. In response, the RC-135 had to take “evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,” INDOPACOM said in a statement Thursday.
While the US pilots were able to manage the incident safely, experts agree that the small distance between the US and Chinese planes is not enough for an error.
China claims almost all of the vast South China Sea as part of its territorial waters, including many of distant islands and inlets in the disputed body of water, many of which Beijing has militarized.
The US is dedicated to a free and open India-Pacific region and will continue to fly, sail and operate in international airspace, with due respect for the safety of vessels and aircraft under international law.
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Aviation and military experts contacted by CNN who watched the two videos said that the Chinese jet appeared to be in the wrong place and that there was no reason for them to get close to the American plane.
“The 135 was in international airspace and is a large, slow, non-maneuverable aircraft. It is the responsibility of the approaching smaller, fast, maneuverable aircraft to stay clear, not to cause a problem for both aircraft,” said Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer, now with the Griffith Asia Institute.
“The intent of the interception was presumably to visually identify the aircraft and the fighter could have stayed several miles away and competed that task. He said getting close does not bring any gains.
The U.S. is the Largest Surveillance Habitual Offender, and It Shouldn’t Bleak. The 2001 Hainan Island Case
The history of China’s responses to US assets operating in international waters and airspace near mainland China strongly suggests, if the tables were turned, its reaction to a similar scenario would have been precipitous, crude and escalatory. We are going to review just a few examples.
But Hopkins also said the US military risked blowing the incident out of proportion in saying the US jet had to take “evasive maneuvers,” a term he described as “overly dramatic.”
The driver is adjusting her position to avoid an incursion by another driver. The US response is pure theater and creates an exaggerated sense of danger.
With unfriendly intentions flying close to each other at 500 miles per hour is unsafe, according to Herzinger.
“It’s worth remembering that the PLA has effectively wrecked any kind of hotlines or discussion forums for addressing potential incidents with the United States. There aren’t as many options for senior officers to limit potential escalation if an intercept goes wrong.
“The US’s provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause of maritime security issues. The Foreign Ministry said that China urged the US to stop dangerous provocations and stop blaming China.
The Chinese spokesperson also said the U.S. was using warships and planes to gather intelligence on China 657 times since the start of last year. All this was proof, Wang claimed, that the U.S. is “without a doubt the world’s largest surveillance habitual offender and surveillance empire.”
In the most infamous incident in 2001, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US reconnaissance plane near Hainan Island in the northern South China Sea, leading to a major crisis as the Chinese pilot was killed and the damaged US plane barely managed a safe landing on Chinese territory. The US crew was released after 11 days of negotiations.
After a string of incidents last year involving intercepts of US and allied aircraft by Chinese warplanes, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the PLA’s actions were escalating and “should worry us all.”
Editor’s Note: Beth Sanner is a former deputy director of National Intelligence for Mission Integration, a position where she oversaw the elements that coordinate and lead collection, analysis, and program oversight throughout the Intelligence Community. In this role she also served as the president’s intelligence briefer. She is a professor of practice in the Applied Research Lab for Intelligence and Security at the University of Maryland. She has her own opinions in this commentary. There’s more opinion on CNN.
Washington believes the balloon shot down over the Atlantic on Saturday is part of an extensive Chinese surveillance program – but that Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades, may not have been aware of the mission.
In late 2016, the Chinese seized an unmanned US Navy underwater vehicle in international waters in the South China Sea, just 50 nautical miles from Subic Bay in the Philippines, and hundreds of miles from China. Subic Bay was home to the largest US naval base in Asia until the US pulled out in 1992 due to disagreements over lease costs. The incident was widely believed to have been a message to President-elect Donald Trump, just two weeks before his inauguration and several weeks after he angered Beijing by taking a congratulatory call from Taiwan’s president. Beijing agreed to return the craft three days later, but never apologized and accused the US of spying.
Then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin laid blame for the collision on the US. Nearly two months elapsed before the two sides reached agreement for the return of the aircraft. Having removed and refused to return the plane’s hardware, software and communications equipment, the Chinese insisted the EP-3 be dismantled and transported by a third party at the US’s expense. Beijing also tried to charge the Bush Administration $1 million for costs associated with the incident, including expenses for detaining the plane’s crew. Washington countered with an offer of some $34,000 it said was a “fair figure” — money China refused — and never apologized.
Defense officials insist that the US learned more about the balloon than they could have by shooting it down, a decision that some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have criticized.
CNN’s “The Cost of Chaos”: Peter Bergen and his father, Tom Bergen, a former Air Force lieutenant
Everybody assumed that China would be with Russia in the Ukrainian conflict. Biden said that they were not all in. I called him to say this is not a threat and that it was just an observation. Look what’s happened to Russia. Six hundred American companies have stopped doing business in Russia. And I said, ‘You’ve told me all along that the reason why you need a relationship with the United States and Europe is so they invest in China.’ If you engage in the same type of deal, who is going to invest in China? You’ll notice there’s not been much going on there.’”
Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is a renowned author who wrote “The Cost of Chaos.” The views expressed are of his own. You can view more opinions on CNN.
And it reminded me that when my father, Tom Bergen, was a lieutenant in the US Air Force in the mid-1950s, he worked on a program to help send balloons into Soviet airspace.
In 1954 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. There he worked on the “Grand Union” project, which deployed balloons that carried cameras over the then-Soviet Union. Those spy balloons were launched from Turkey.
The program my father worked on was a secret but has been declassified since it happened seven decades ago.
What do the latest strange objects tell us about the US surveillance program, and how they are connected to China? The case of the F-35 case
The US’ ability to track the balloons’ whereabouts has also added to the broader understanding of how large China’s balloon surveillance program actually is.
Now the United States and its rivals have these new-fangled gizmos called “spy satellites,” which can take photos! They have the ability to do full-motion video. They can take thermal imagery that detects individuals moving around at night! The skies can be very clear, so they can spy on pretty much anything.
You can now purchase your own photos of a Russian battle group in Ukraine by using commercial satellite imagery that is so cheap. Just ask Maxar Technologies; they have built up a rather profitable business on this model, which was just acquired two months ago for $6 billion by a private equity firm.
It may help explain an element of the report that was published last month by the US Office of Director of National Intelligence.
If they are not related to China, are the latest strange objects flying over North America linked to some other hostile power or group, corporate or private entity? Are they even connected to one another or are they simply the result of coincidences at a time of heightened awareness and tensions?
But China has arguably done much worse. US officials have accused it of being helped by the work of hackers who stole design data for the F-35 fighter aircraft as China builds its own new generation of fighters and of giving up personal information of more than 20 million Americans. China denied responsibility for the OPM hacking and called the F-35 report “baseless”.
The surveillance program, which includes a number of similar balloons, is in part run out of the small Chinese province of Hainan, officials tell CNN. The US does not know the precise size of the fleet of Chinese surveillance balloons, but sources tell CNN that the program has conducted at least two dozen missions over at least five continents in recent years.
Roughly half a dozen of those flights have been within US airspace – although not necessarily over US territory, according to one official familiar with the intelligence.
And not all of the balloons sighted around the globe have been exactly the same model as the one shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, that official and another source familiar with the intelligence said. These people said that there are multiple variations.
The link to the broader surveillance program, which was uncovered before the latest balloon was spotted last week, was first reported by the Washington Post.
The FBI is also involved in the recovery effort. Bureau personnel have begun processing and analyzing an “extremely limited” amount of evidence recovered from the Chinese balloon, two senior FBI officials said Thursday.
“The domain awareness was there as it approached Alaska,” NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters on Monday. I didn’t believe that the balloon posed a military threat to North America. And therefore, I could not take immediate action because it was not demonstrating hostile act or hostile intent.”
The biggest unanswered question is China’s intent. China continues to argue that the vessel was a weather balloon that drifted off-course and that its path over the United States was an accident. Officials have acknowledged that this type of balloon has only limited steering capabilities and largely rode the jet stream.
So far, China has offered slim information to fill out its own version of events – maintaining the balloon was a Chinese civilian research airship blown off course and flatly denying a broader surveillance program.
The US Ambassador to the Middle East: Addressing the Founders of the Cold War with the Office of the Special Relativity (ODD)
This elite team consists of agents, analysts, engineers and scientists, who are responsible for both creating technical surveillance measures and analyzing those of the US’ adversaries.
The OTD is responsible for managing court-authorized data collection and work to defeat efforts by the foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate the US, even though they also construct devices used by FBI and intelligence community personnel targeting national security threats.
There are many reasons why we would not do that, according to one member of the House Intelligence Committee. We want to collect it and you want to know what it is doing.
A defense official said there are procedures the US has to protect sensitive locations from being used for overhead surveillement.
As diplomatic tensions with China were soaring and new details of an expansive Chinese balloon program emerged, Biden called out Beijing before millions of viewers in the US and around the world.
Biden pointed out to his audience in an ad-libbed addition that he slammed autocracies as well as argued for the superiority of democracies.
“Name me a world leader who’d change places with Xi Jinping. I want to know: Name me one! Biden said that he had known his Chinese counterpart for years and last met him in Indonesia. The president was almost shouting at the end of a sentence that could be seen as disdainful of China’s stunning economic emergence at a time when Xi’s aura has been damaged by mismanagement of Covid-19.
The president delivered a speech at a tense time, with the United States locked in confrontations with China and Russia. Those two nuclear superpowers have tightened their relationship in a new age of great power politics that Biden sees as a fight between democracy and tyranny. Biden said that the invasion of Ukraine was a test for the ages, and an example of how the US was working for more freedom, more dignity, and more peace.
The US stance has not changed despite repeated assurances by the president of the United States that he would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
It is impossible to miss the symbolic synergy between his policy toward Russia and China, which he laid out in relation to increasing attempts by nations like Russia and China to apply their power outside their borders.
Biden, who ordered the military to shoot down the balloon over water last week, has not talked to the Chinese leader since it was spotted. He pointed to continued contacts with his Chinese counterparts.
“Shooting down a balloon that’s gathering information over America makes relations worse.” In a wide-ranging interview, Biden told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff about his second State of the Union address.
Biden administration officials insisted the meeting was not canceled but delayed until a later date. The date hasn’t yet been set.
CNN asked US officials if they had any idea why China would do such a thing, and Biden laughed it off. He said that they were the Chinese government.
The Biden administration has been able to move quickly to mitigate the balloon’s intelligence collection capacity and have been able to collect information about the balloon and Chinese intelligence capabilities both during its flight and in the recovery of its wreck from the Atlantic Ocean.
The House will vote on Thursday on a resolution that condemns the use of a high- altitude balloon by the Chinese Communist Party over US territory.
While the president has stood by how he and his administration handled that balloon, he has faced criticism from Republicans for allowing the suspected spy balloon to float over much of the country before shooting it down.
The discovery of a spy balloon over the Atlantic: a disturbing observation made by Xi last year about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and its diplomatic relations with China
And he detailed a telling observation he shared with Xi last year as US officials warned China not to provide military support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
The US Navy released photos of its efforts to recover a Chinese spy balloon that the US shot down over the Atlantic on Saturday.
On Monday, Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told reporters that the balloon was roughly 200 feet tall and carried a payload weighing more than a couple of thousand pounds.
“[F]rom a safety standpoint, picture yourself with large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky. VanHerck said that they are kind of talking about that. Glass from solar panels, which is potentially hazardous, and material required for a batteries to operate in such an environment as this could have been used to blow up the balloon.
“[T]his gave us the opportunity to assess what they were actually doing, what kind of capabilities existed on the balloon, what kind of transmission capabilities existed, and I think you’ll see in the future that that time frame was well worth its value to collect over,” VanHerck said.
When the balloon turned south, it became strange, according to a senior US official. We started talking about shooting it down.
“The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the US side after verification that the airship is for civilian use and entered the US due to force majeure – it was completely an accident,” another statement from the Foreign Ministry said.
The situation resulted in a postponed visit for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing, which had been expected to happen within days of the balloon’s sighting.
China admitted that it owned the balloon on Monday, saying it deviated from its flight course by mistake.
“China is a responsible country,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. We have always followed international law. The situation was handled in a way that didn’t pose any threats to any countries.
Aircraft and Space Integration Across the Airline: The China Aerospace Studies Institute Contribution to the PLA Daily Article on “Near-Space Reconciling Hypersonic Weapons Transit and Ballistic Missiles”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged the PLA Air Force to “speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities” as early as 2014, and military experts have designated “near space” as a crucial link in the integration.
Lying above the flightpaths of most commercial and military jets and below satellites, near space is an in-between area for spaceflight to pass through – but it is also a domain where hypersonic weapons transit and ballistic missiles cross.
“This isn’t just a China thing. The US, and other nations as well, have been working on and developing high-altitude aerostats, balloons and similar vehicles,” said Brendan Mulvaney, director of the China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI), a research center serving the US Air Force.
“With the rapid development of modern technology, the space for information confrontation is no longer limited to land, sea, and the low altitude. Near space has also become a new battlefield in modern warfare and an important part of the national security system,” read a 2018 article in the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Unlike rotating satellites or traveling aircraft, stratospheric airships and high-altitude balloons “can hover over a fixed location for a long period of time” and are not easily detected by radar, wrote Shi Hong, the executive editor of Shipborne Weapons, a prominent military magazine published by a PLA-linked institute, in an article published in state media in 2022.
“They are cheap, provide long-term persistent stare for collection of imagery, communications and other information – including weather,” said Mulvaney, who authored a 2020 paper that detailed China’s interest in using lighter-than-air vehicles for “near-space reconnaissance.”
An example of the progress China has made in this domain is the reported flight of a small airship known as the “Cloud Chaser” that was 100 meters long. In a recent interview with the Southern Metropolis Daily, a professor from Beijing University said the vehicle had transited across Asia, Africa, and North America in a flight of over 6,000 feet above the Earth.
The US has also been bolstering its capacity to use lighter-than-air vehicles. Raven Aerostar, an American firm that designs and builds aircraft, was recently contracted by the US Department of Defense to work on using their stratospheric balloons as a way to develop a more complete picture and apply effects to the battlefield.
A paper published last April by the researchers in the PLA institute said air-drift balloons were seen over China in 1997 and 2017.
The CASI-JCI investigation of the Alaskan incident of a shot-down balloon and its impact on U.S. defense and intelligence
“Understanding the atmospheric conditions up there is critical to programming the guidance software” for ballistic and hypersonic missiles, according to Hawaii-based analyst Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.
It’s not clear if the Taiwanese and Japanese incidents are related to the US incident.
CASI’s Mulvaney said that whether the balloon itself is characterized as “dual use” or “state-owned,” data collected would have gone back to China, which is now receiving another kind of information from the incident.
On Friday, an unidentified object was shot down in Alaska by a US F-22 and last weekend, a Chinese balloon was taken down by F-22s off the coast of South Carolina.
The report was communicated through channels accessible to the US government. But it wasn’t flagged as an urgent warning and top defense and intelligence officials who saw it weren’t immediately alarmed by it, according to sources. The White House and President Joe Biden were not briefed on the report, according to sources familiar with the report.
The US instead of treating the object as a threat moved to investigate it as an opportunity to observe and gather intel.
During a closed door briefing on Tuesday, Senate staff repeatedly pressed military officials about who knew what – and when. On Wednesday, Rubio and Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Biden’s top defense and intelligence officials raising questions about the administration’s decision-making after the balloon crossed into Alaskan airspace.
According to defense officials, on January 28, the NORAD sent up fighter jets to make a positive identification when the balloon entered US airspace near Alaska.
There was no reason to be alarmed by the balloon. At the time, according to US officials, this balloon was expected to sail over Alaska and continue on a northern trajectory that intelligence and military officials could track and study.
Military officials said it is not necessarily surprising that the president was not briefed until January 31, given the expectations for the balloon at the time.
Congress has become interested in the process of the decision-making on the balloon as more information trickles out.
Do we really know how to get there? A question or two: What do we have in Alaska, what do we know and what can we do about it?
“There are still a lot of questions to be asked about Alaska,” a Senate Republican aide told CNN. Is it okay to transit Alaska without telling anyone, but the continental US is different?
These officials said an image of the pilot in the cockpit taking a selfies with the balloon has become legendary among NORAD and the Pentagon.
The Biden administration has determined that the Chinese balloon was operating with electronic surveillance technology capable of monitoring US communications, according to the official.
Sources say that the Chinese president was unaware that the order to send a balloon was dispatched.
Only evidence that was on the surface of the ocean has been delivered to FBI analysts so far, one official said, which includes the “canopy itself, the wiring, and then a very small amount of electronics.” The official said analysts have not yet seen the “payload,” which is where you would expect to see the “lion’s share” of electronics.
“We did not assess that it presented a significant collection hazard beyond what already exists in actionable technical means from the Chinese,” said Gen. Glenn VanHerck, the commander of US Northern Command and NORAD, on Monday.
The source said that several Republicans railing against the administration, including a GOP lawmaker from Georgia, made the House briefing tense.
“The Pentagon was telling us they were able to mitigate in real-time as this was taking place and I believe that’s accurate,” Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN.”I believe the preeminent concern they had, as they expressed in real time, was the safety of US citizens.”
“I believe that the administration, the president, our military and intelligence agencies, acted skillfully and with care. At the same time, their capabilities are extraordinarily impressive. Was everything done 100% correctly? I can’t imagine that would be the case of almost anything we do. But I came away more confident,” Romney said Thursday.
The Defense Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the alleged Chinese spy balloon out of the Atlantic: A brief update on what has been learned so far
The military assessment of the Chinese surveillance was under attack by senators at an Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, with Jon Tester of Montana telling officials that he didn’t know how they could say it wasn’t a military threat.
I need you guys to understand why this baby was not taken out long before, and I am saying that it is not the last time. We have seen short incursions, now we have long incursions, what will happen next? said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
Pentagon officials said that the Defense Department did not worry about the intelligence gathered by the balloon in Alaska because it was not near sensitive sites.
The parts of the balloon recovered on the surface of the ocean have been delivered so far, while recovering additional pieces of the balloon that sunk has been complicated by bad weather, officials said.
The officials said that they weren’t sure where the balloon parts were manufactured, and whether or not any of the pieces were made in America. Because analysts have yet to look at the bulk of the equipment on the balloon, the officials said that there has not been a determination as to everything the device was capable of doing and its specific intent.
Of the small portion they have examined, analysts have not identified any sort of explosive or “offensive material” that would pose a danger to the American public.
There was English writing on parts of the balloon that were found, one of the sources familiar with the congressional briefings said, though they were not high-tech components. The source declined to provide detail on what specific parts of the balloon contained English writing.
The official said that there was no explanation for why the second balloon violated the airspace of Central and South American countries. “The PRC’s program will only continue to be exposed, making it harder for the PRC to use this program.”
As U.S. Navy crews continue to fish parts of the alleged Chinese spy balloon out of the Atlantic, a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave reporters an update on Thursday on some of what has been learned so far.
The main electronics was not recovered yet, as one FBI official said it was early in the investigation.
First US F-22 Jet Shotdown of an Alaskan High-Altitude Object Over Alaskan Territorially: A Success of President Joe Biden
“That narrative is probably part of the information and public opinion warfare the U.S. has waged on China,” Mao added. Who is the world’s number one country of spies, eavesdroppers, and spies is very visible to the international community.
And the government is investing in improvements, too. In 2018, for example, China launched a project to research materials that can be used to make balloons that can float higher without losing buoyancy.
President Joe Biden told CNN that the shoot down a “high-altitude object” hovering over Alaska on Friday “was a success,” shortly after American national security officials disclosed that the commander-in-chief gave the US military approval to take the action.
An F-22 fighter jet from Joint Base Elmendorf in Alaska took down a object in US territorial water. The general told reporters on Friday.
The Defense Department did not have any details about the object’s characteristics, purpose or origin. He said the object was not similar in size or shape to the balloon that was downed off the coast of South Carolina, and posed a reasonable danger to the safety of civilian flight.
There were two efforts to get closer to the object and evaluate it as it flew. The first engagement by fighter aircraft took place late Thursday night and the second Friday morning. Kirby told reporters that both engagements yielded a limited amount of information.
“We were able to get some fighter aircrafts up and around it before the order to shoot it down, and the pilots assessment was this was not manned,” Kirby added.
“President Biden authorized US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation and a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities,” the White House statement said. The object’s purpose or origin was the subject of discussion by the leaders.
The United States Northern Command coordinated the operations with help from the Alaska Air National Guard and Federal Aviation Administration.
Chinese media attention on Deadhorse: The role of lower-level officials in the Chinese system and the problems with the centralization of power
The best description we have right now is that which we’re calling an object. We don’t know who owns it – whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned or privately-owned, we just don’t know,” Kirby said.
The object first came to the attention of the US government “last evening.” Biden was first briefed Thursday night “as soon as the Pentagon had enough information,” Kirby said.
The object “did not appear to be self-maneuvering, and therefore, (was) at the mercy of prevailing winds,” making it “much less predictable,” said Kirby.
The flight restriction in the area around Deadhorse was imposed by the FAA on Friday as the military took action against the object.
The assessment was communicated to American lawmakers in briefings Thursday, according to CNN reporting – and if true, could point to what analysts say would be a significant lack of coordination within the Chinese system at a fraught period of China-US relations.
It could mean that Xi and his top advisers underestimated the potential gravity of the fallout of the mission and the possibility it could imperil Blinken’s visit, which would have been the first from the most senior US diplomat since 2018 and had been welcomed by Beijing as a path to easing strained ties.
In a statement last weekend, Beijing appeared to link the device to companies, not the government or military, though in China the line between the two is blurred by state-owned enterprises and a robust military industrial complex.
“The problem with the centralization of power under Xi Jinping is the lack of delegation of authority to lower levels,” said Thompson, who is a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Lower-level officials who may have the capacity to more closely monitor such missions will not be given the power to make political judgments about their impact, he said. Power struggles between lower and higher ranking officials could also complicate communication, he said.
The Chinese system is typified by a tension between the lower and upper levels of governance, where the lower levels fight for their own independence and the upper levels fight for more control.
In the past there has been tensions, including the outbreak of the disease, as well as Covid-19, where delays in reporting slowed the response and compounded the problem. Some blamed local officials who feared repercussions, or were accustomed to a system where information flows from the top down, not the bottom up.
A political scientist at the University of Chicago says that balloon launches could end up in a gap as they’re not managed or overseen in the same way as other aircraft missions.
In this case, entities launching balloons may have received “little or no push back from other countries, including the United States” and “increasingly seen such launches as routine based on weather conditions and at modest costs,” Yang said.
“As a result, while the leaders of these programs have also become emboldened over time to test new routes, it was likely that they didn’t get top priority attention from the perspective of political risk,” he said.
The Pentagon and the Defense Ministry of China after the September 11 Airborne Inelastic Incident involving a Xi Jinping
China’s Foreign Ministry appeared caught off-guard by the situation as it publicly unfolded over the past week – releasing its first explanation of the incident more than 12 hours after the Pentagon announced it was tracking a suspected surveillance balloon.
“Because of his personality, he wants 100% (control),” said Alfred Wu, an associate professor, also at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. “I don’t think Xi Jinping allows for that kind of autonomy.”
Instead, Xi may have been happy with the incident that diverted attention from a faltering economy after years under the recently dismantled zero-Covid policy, but he did not account for the US domestic response that resulted in the postponement of the talks.
Washington may be trying to convince China that they should not talk about the situation after a meeting with US President Joe Biden, which took place at the G 20 summit in Indonesia.
Following the fallout, the US Commerce Department has restricted six Chinese companies tied to the Chinese military’s aerospace programs from obtaining US technology without government authorization.
The companies support the modernization effort of the Chinese government as it relates to aircraft and materials used in intelligence and scurries.
The inclusion of the companies on the Commerce Department’s “Entity List,” sends “a clear message to companies, governments, and other stakeholders globally that the entities on the list present a threat to national security,” the statement said.
An unidentified object was shot down over northern Canada on Saturday, marking the third time in a week that US fighter jets have taken down objects in North American airspace.
Canada’s Defense Minister said at a news conference on Saturday that there is an object smaller than a Chinese balloon that was shot down.
“Monitoring continued today as the object crossed into Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to further assess the object,” Ryder’s statement said.
The China-US Airborne Shootdown: The New National Security Mystery – What Happens in the Last Two Weeks? Chinese Social Media Embarks in Qingdao
US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both approved the shoot down on Saturday, according to a statement from the White House.
The FBI will be collaborating with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations.
The source briefed on intelligence told CNN that pilots gave different accounts of what they saw after coming near the object, but other pilots did not.
China said Sunday it was preparing to shoot down an object flying over its eastern coast just hours before the US took out a third object in three days in the airspace above the United States and Canada.
In a text message to fishing vessels, maritime authorities in the neighboring port city of Qingdao told crews to be on alert to avoid danger and assist with debris recovery efforts if possible.
“If debris falls near your boat, please help take photos to collect evidence. The marine development department of the Jimo district asked that if conditions allow, please help rescue it.
Chinese authorities and state media had not provided any update as of Monday afternoon local time, and they were unsure if the object had been taken down.
On Sunday, Chinese social media was a hive of activity with many people waiting for the object to be taken down. “Thanks to the demonstration made by the US, we must report it in a high-profile manner when we shoot down (the object),” said a top comment on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
If the latter situation is the case, is NORAD now picking up more objects that are potentially hostile given a state of heightened alert after the Chinese balloon crisis? If the objects are suspicious is there a sudden spike in such flights or did such objects fly across the continent with impunity in the past? The aviation industry is already dealing with the increased threat of low flying drones and now there is a new problem that should be on it’s mind.
The national security mystery is threatening a political storm after US fighter jets scrambled three days in a row to shoot down a trio of unidentified aerial objects.
The intrigue is also unfolding against a tense global situation, with already difficult relations with rising superpower China becoming ever more hostile and with the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
“What’s gone on in the last two weeks or so, 10 days, has been nothing short of craziness,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS, hours before an airborne object was shot down over Lake Huron.
On Friday, an F-22 shot down another unidentified craft over Alaskan airspace . US pilots were able to get up around the object before it was shot down and reported that it didn’t appear to be carrying surveillance equipment.
Recent objects shot down by NORAD and US Northern Command were likely the first action taken against an airborne object over US airspace.
The recent events in Washington have caused some serious national security and political questions to be raised, and will only be assessed once more details are understood.
The lack of specificity is unlikely to quell speculation or partisan maneuvering in Washington. At the start of a new presidential election cycle and in a polarized political age when social media magnifies conspiracy theories, this odd series of incidents is heaping fresh pressure on Biden following recriminations after his decision to wait until the Chinese balloon had crossed the country before shooting it down over water.
“They do appear somewhat trigger-happy, although this is certainly preferable to the permissive environment that they showed when the Chinese spy balloon was coming over some of our most sensitive sites,” Turner told Jake Tapper.
There may be speculation that is premature. But fierce political debate over the balloon has clearly changed Biden’s tolerance threshold for unknown aerial objects.
Biden, who didn’t address the new intrusions at a black-tie event with state governors on Saturday, has yet to speak to Americans in person about the trio of incidents over the weekend.
“It’s a big problem, and it is going to be big,” explained Schumer on ABC’s “This Week”
They are receiving a lot of positives that they did not get before. Most of that is going to be airplanes, whatever it may be,” said Kayyem, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
We can not answer that question now, because there is a bigger focus picking up stuff that has essentially been forgiven around in the skies, because it didn’t pose a threat.
There was more confusion on Sunday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the two objects shot down over Alaska and the Yukon were balloons but smaller than the original Chinese intruder, after saying he had earlier been briefed by Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana appeared to make a direct link Sunday on “CNN Newsroom” between the Chinese balloon and the latest objects, even if there is no confirmation so far that they are connected.
He did not feel safe knowing that the devices he was using were smaller. “I am very concerned with the cumulative data that is being collected. … I need some answers, and the American people need answers.”