CNN. Peter Bergen: the Cost of Chaos: What Happens When Air Force Balloons Come into Being Over the Soviet Union?
Peter Bergen is aCNN national security analyst, vice president at New America and professor at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. You can give your opinion 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.
He was assigned to Headquarters Air Material Command in the early 60’s. He was involved in the “Grand Union” project, which employed balloons to record what was happening over the Soviet Union. The balloons were launched from Turkey.
The program has been secret since seven decades ago, but my dad didn’t talk about it much in his career because the work was secret.
The balloon had left Canada and entered the Lower 48. Multiple sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN that concerns that the balloon had been sent to spy on the mainland US were confirmed when NORAD observed the balloon loitering over some sensitive military facilities.
The United States and its rivals now have spy satellites that can take photos. They can do full-motion video! They are able to take thermal imagery that can detect people at night. They can use the skies to spy on anything with a resolution of centimeters.
Satellite imagery is getting cheaper and you can even buy your own close-up images of a battle group from Russia. 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.
A Cold War in China: The United States and China Aftermath of a Weather Balloon Accidentally Arrived on January 27
The United States and Chinese governments have been fighting over the vessel which China claimed was a weather balloon accidentally entered US airspace.
It may explain at least part of the report 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? At a time of heightened awareness and tension, are they connected to one another or the result of coincidences?
China has done worse than was previously thought. US officials say it was benefited from the work of hackers who stole design data about the F-35 fighter aircraft as China builds its own new generation of fighters and much of the personal information of more than 20 million Americans who were current or former members of the US government. China called the F-35 theft report “baseless” and denied responsibility for the OPM hacking.
The Pentagon was watching another balloon that was floating over Latin America. The general said was assessed to be another Chinese balloon.
A number of them have been within US airspace according to an official familiar with the intelligence.
According to the official and another source who is familiar with the intelligence, some of the balloons seen around the globe have different models than the one that fell off the coast. These people said there are multiple variations.
The Washington Post reported that a link to the broader program had been found before the balloon was spotted last week.
“While I won’t go into specifics due to classification reasons,” Ryder said, “I can say that we have located a significant amount of debris so far that will prove helpful to our further understanding of this balloon and its surveillance capabilities.”
The US was able to track the latest balloon’s path even before it entered US airspace. According to officials, the balloon was warned by the Defense intelligence agency on January 27 that it was headed for the US.
Hours before the two men met, Mr. Wang appeared before the conference and, to the astonishment of many Western officials, doubled down on China’s claim that the balloon had been a “civilian” research craft blown off course by high winds, calling the American decision to shoot it down “absurd and hysterical.”
The Biden officials told Congress that it’s still unclear what the motivation was for the flight of the balloon across the US, which prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his trip to China. One of the sources said that the US believes senior leadership of the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese Communist Party including Xi were also unaware, and the US believes the Chinese are still trying to figure out how this happened.
The elite team is comprised of agents, analysts, engineers, and scientists, who are responsible for analyzing those of the US adversaries.
OTD personnel, for example, construct surveillance devices used by FBI and intelligence community personnel targeting national security threats — but they also are responsible for managing court-authorized data collection and work to defeat efforts by foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate the US.
But, according to one member of the House Intelligence Committee, “there’s number of reasons why we wouldn’t do that. We want to collect off it, you want to see where it’s going and what it’s doing.
An official with the defense department said that the US has procedures in place to protect sensitive locations from overhead surveilance.
Tension between China and the United States has spiked since the Feb. 4 shoot-down of what the Biden administration says was a Chinese surveillance balloon that had floated across the continental U.S.
“We are going to keep our allies and Congress contemporaneously informed of all we learn and all we know and I expect to be speaking with President Xi, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,” Biden said in remarks at the White House about the recent spate of unidentified aerial objects in U.S. airspace.
The meeting on Saturday night came two weeks after Mr. Blinken abruptly canceled a long-planned trip to Beijing intended as a step toward soothing relations between the United States and China that have been inflamed in recent years, with some analysts worried about the growing potential for future military conflict.
The meeting was delayed until a later date, which the Biden administration stressed was not a cancellation. The date has not been set.
The Recovery of an Alaskan High-Altitude Flight from a Possible Chinese Spy Balloon: Comments on China’s Embedding of the U.S.
The official said that based on China’s comments andmessaging it is clear they have been scrambling to give a plausible explanation for violating US sovereignty and finding themselves on their heels.
Biden administration officials have said that they were able to move quickly to mitigate the intelligence collection capacity of the balloon and that they will end up benefiting from the Chinese intelligence capabilities, both in the recovery of the balloon’s remnants and in the collection of information about their intelligence capabilities.
The resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude balloon over the United States as a blatant violation of U.S. sovereignty will be voted on on Thursday, according to Steve Scalise’s office.
Senior administration officials told Biden that he wasn’t briefed until three days after the balloon crossed out of Canada into the United States. The military was asked by Biden to present options immediately to shoot down the balloon.
He told Beijing to stay away from providing material support to Russia in the war in Ukraine, a view he said China was now considering.
The US Navy released photos Tuesday of its recovery effort of a suspected Chinese spy balloon, which US fighter jets shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday.
The payload’s size has been categorized by Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD, as “a jet airliner type of size, maybe a regional jet,” weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
The object was shot down by an AIM-9X missile and a F-22 fighter jet from a base in northeast Alaska, which is similar to the one that took down the balloon. The military decided to shoot the object down during the daylight hours to make it easier for the pilots to spot it. Ryder said the mission was “supported with aerial assets from the Alaska Air National Guard.”
“[F]rom a safety standpoint, picture yourself with large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky. That is what we are talking about, VanHerck said on Monday. There are dangers associated with the environment and this balloon, for instance the glass on the solar panels could potentially be used to cause explosives to explode and destroy the balloon.
VanHerck said the time frame given was well worth its value because it gave them an opportunity to assess what they were actually doing.
China hits back with its own balloon allegations: “The US had a right to attack our civilian unmanned airship,” a DIA spokesperson told AFP
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Tan Kefei said on Sunday that the US had “used force to attack our civilian unmanned airship, which is an obvious overreaction.”
Feb. 13: China hits back with its own balloon allegations, accusing the U.S. of flying its own high altitude balloons into Chinese airspace, without Beijing’s permission, on more than 10 occasions since January 2022.
Mao Ning said on Monday that China is a responsible country. We have always followed international law. The situation did not cause any threats to any countries and we have handled it well.
The officials informed lawmakers that the US believed there to be little new information gleaned from the Chinese balloon operation because of the US measures to protect sensitive intel from China’s snooping operations, according to sources.
The report – also known as a “tipper” – was disseminated through classified channels accessible across the US government. Sources say that top defense and intelligence officials saw it and weren’t alarmed by it. Sources familiar with the report said that the White House was not made aware of the DIA report, and President Joe Biden was not briefed on it.
The US looked at the object as a chance to observe and collect intelligence instead of treating it as an immediate threat.
The Presidential Balloon-to-Alaska Information Mission: State-of-the-Art and State-Dependent Investigations
As Congress demanded more information about the reason for the balloon not being shot down sooner, senior Biden officials faced pointed questions on Capitol Hill.
On January 28, when the balloon entered US airspace near Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, sent up fighter jets to make a positive identification, according to defense officials, reflecting a subtle shift in urgency.
How much control China exerted over the balloon’s path remains a matter of debate. The senior US official said that the balloon had a rudder and propellers that allowed it to turn, but that it only rode the jet stream to make predictions about where it was going.
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.
As more information about the administration’s decision-making process on the balloon has continued to trickle out, Congress has taken a keen interest.
“There are still a lot of questions to be asked about Alaska,” a Senate Republican aide told CNN. It isn’t ok to transit to Alaska without telling anyone, but the continental US isn’t the same.
The pilot took a picture in his cockpit that shows him and the balloon itself, and it has gained legendary status within 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.
Lawmakers were told Thursday that the order to send the balloon was dispatched without Chinese President Xi Jinping’s knowledge, sources familiar with the briefing said.
Military Assessment of Chinese Espionage: The State of the State, the Pentagon, and the Interaction of the United States with China, as Revised by the Senate Finance Committee
The officials, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S. has only collected materials that were on the ocean’s surface so far, including the balloon canopy, some wiring and a “very small amount 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.
Several Republicans were railing against the administration, including one who said that the president looked weak when the Pentagon made him look weak.
The safety of the troops was one of the main concerns of the Pentagon as this was happening, according to the congressman from Illinois.
“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. Romney said on Thursday that he came away more confident.
Democrats pressed defense officials at an Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday over the military assessment of Chinese espionage, with one telling them it was not clear how they could say it was not a military threat.
The baby was not taken out long before because I said that this is not the last time. We have seen brief incursions and now we have a long incursion what will happen next? asked Tester, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
Mr. Biden said that the US was continuing to engage with China. I have said since the beginning of my administration that we seek competition and not conflict with China. We are not looking for a new war, but we will compete and we will be successful. We will responsibly manage that competition.”
Pentagon officials report on the discovery of the alleged Chinese spy balloon over Alaska at the Tevatron and Atmospheric Air Force Bases
Pentagon officials said at the hearing that the Defense Department was not concerned about the balloon gathering intelligence over Alaska as it was not near sensitive sites.
The Chinese balloon was shot down off the South Carolina coast over the weekend, but important elements of it have been recovered, the US military says.
It’s not yet clear where the balloon’s parts were manufactured, the officials said, including whether any of the pieces were made in America. The officials said that they haven’t been able to make a determination as to what the device is capable of doing and its specific intent, because analysts have yet to look at the bulk of equipment.
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 wasn’t willing to provide more details on what parts of the balloon contained English writing.
I have made clear that the presence of the balloon in the US airspace is a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law, and that the PRC decision to take this action on the eve of my planned visit is detrimental.
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 payload, however, has not been recovered yet, one of the FBI officials said, adding that it was “very early” to assess what the intent was and how the device was operating.
The U.S.’s High-Altitude Monitoring Mission to China confronts the United States, as outlined by Blinken and Wang
The United States will not tolerate any violation of our sovereignty or high-altitude monitoring by the Chinese government, according to the State Department description of the conversation between Mr. Blinken and Mr. Wang.
The government is spending money on 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.
According to CNN, the assessment was shared with American lawmakers, and if true, could show a lack of coordination within the Chinese system at a fraught time of China-US relations.
Beijing, in a statement last weekend, appeared to link the device to “companies,” rather than the government or military – though in China the prominence of state-owned enterprises and a robust military-industrial complex blurs the line between the two.
“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).
That means that lower-level officials who may have the capacity to more closely monitor such missions may not be empowered to do so, or not be equipped to make political judgments about their impact, he said. Power struggles between lower and higher ranking officials could also complicate communication, he said.
He says that there is a part of Chinese governance where lower levels fight for their own autonomy while upper levels fight for greater control.
There have been crises in China that have pointed to tensions and reported delays in response, such as the Covid-19 outbreak where reports were slow, compounding 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.
Balloon launches could also fall into a gap in which operations were not managed or overseen in the same way as space or other aircraft missions, according to Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago.
In this case, entities launching balloons may have been given little or no push back from other countries, including the United States, and thus have become commonplace based on weather conditions and at modest costs.
The leaders of these programs were likely to get little attention from the perspective of political risk since they had become more emboldened to test new routes.
First Flight-by of US Jets and a Search for China’s Spy Balloon Shot Down on Friday, April 23rd
The Chinese Foreign Ministry appeared to be caught off-guard by the events as it released its first explanation of the incident more than 12 hours after the Pentagon announced it was tracking a suspected balloon.
Alfred said that he wanted 100% control because of his personality. “I don’t think Xi Jinping allows for that kind of autonomy.”
Instead, Xi may have been comfortable with an incident that diverted the attention of a public frustrated amid a faltering economy after years under the recently dismantled zero-Covid policy – but underestimated the US domestic response that resulted in the postponed talks, Wu said.
As Washington seeks to continue the dialogue that was started when Xi and Biden met, it may be that they did not know about the situation.
US officials announced that an object was shot down 10 miles off the coast of Alaska, but they have no details about the object.
It marked the second time US jets had taken down an object in less than a week, following the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina last Saturday.
John Kirby said on Friday that he came inside our territorial waters and the waters are frozen. “Fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command took down the object within last hour.”
Kirby told reporters that the first fly-by of US fighter aircraft happened Thursday night, and the second happened Friday morning. They brought back limited information about the object.
The object that was shot down, which was flying at 40,000 feet, was areasonable threat to civilian air traffic because it wasn’t manned and officials do not know the origin of it.
Kirby says that the object is the best description they have at the moment. Whether it is state-owned or privately-owned, we don’t know.
The Alaska National Guard and units under US Northern Command, along with a group of other aircraft are attempting to recover an object.
The object is not related to the Chinese balloon that was downed last weekend and the debris is still being recovered.
Ryder said on Friday that recovery teams have “mapped the debris field” and are “in the process of searching for and identifying debris on the ocean floor.”
When asked Friday if lessons learned about China’s balloon assisted in detecting the object shot down over Alaska, Ryder said it was “a little bit of apples and oranges.”
Observations of the Shotdown of a Cold Aircraft by a F-22 on Friday: A Tester’s First Response to an Airborne Object in Canada
Three days in a row US fighter jets scrambled to shoot down three objects over the North American continent, which is threatening a political storm.
An F-22 shot down a craft in Alaskan airspace on Friday. US pilots reported that they were able to see that the object wasn’t carrying equipment that could have been used for espionage.
With the US leading the west in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and with China becoming even more hostile, there is much intrigue happening against a tense global situation.
The last two or three weeks has been nothing short of crazy according to Jon Tester, a Democratic senator from Montana.
On Saturday, a US F-22 warplane operating on the joint orders of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden fired a missile that took down an object flying at 40,000 feet over central Yukon in the far north of Canada. The Canadian defense minister said there was a cylindrical object smaller than the Chinese balloon.
In fact, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck said recent objects shot down were likely the first “kinetic action” that NORAD or the US Northern Command had taken against an airborne object over US airspace.
So the events of the last few days do provoke serious national security and political questions that stretch far beyond the often narrow political battle in Washington, and that can only be assessed once more details are understood.
As officials fully understand the sequence of events and the objects, new speculation could be premature. The filters used to sift the data have recently been changed to focus on spotting fast moving objects below certain altitude, according to a report by CNN. Early warning filters had previously been set to avoid picking up other objects, including birds and weather balloons, a source briefed on the matter said.
“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.
On the Interaction Between the Black-Tie Intruders and the Chinese Spy Balloon in the U.S.
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.
The president said he has directed his team to devise “sharper rules for how we will deal with these unidentified objects moving forward, distinguishing between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.” When the parameters are finished, they will be shared with Congress.
As the Chinese spy balloon crept its way across the United States, Mr. Biden was accused of being too slow in responding and was chided for overreacting, despite the fact that they appeared to be harmless.
They are receiving a lot of positives that they have not gotten 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 cannot answer that question, because we don’t know if it’s part of something that was organized for whatever surveilance or if it’s some random thing that has already been forgiven.
On Sunday there was more confusion. The two objects shot down over Alaska and the Whitehorse were smaller than the Chinese intruders, according to Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the Senate.
There is no confirmation yet that the Chinese balloon and the objects are connected, but Rep. Matt Rosendale appears to have made a connection between the two on “CNN Newsroom.”
Are there aliens or extraterrestrial activity with the take-down of CMB jets? The White House press secretary says there’s no evidence of alien activity
“It doesn’t give me much safe feelings knowing that these devices are smaller,” he said. I am concerned about the cumulative data being collected. The American people require answers and I need them.
“There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent take-downs…. I wanted to make sure that Americans knew that and it was important that we told them from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.
White House press secretary Jean Pierre made it clear to the journalists that there would be no calls for agent Mulder and agent Scully to return.
The Beijing Aircraft Collision: Recovery of the U.S. Aircraft Expenditure from a Chinese Balloon
One is that these have been going on before in the past, and we haven’t detected them. There have been detections where our radars have picked up various phenomenon. We don’t know what it was that they detected, because the equipment isn’t that refined. It cannot discern down to an exquisite level of detail what an anomaly in the air might be. Occasionally, we’ll pick up weather phenomena which will indicate to us that there is something, a balloon or an aircraft. It is a weather anomalies just in the atmosphere. And again, some of this could be corrected with newer technologies.”
“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” U.S. Northern Command said.
The recovery operation has included the use of a crane to bring up large pieces of the airship, which was kept aloft by a balloon estimated to be up to 200 feet tall.
Analysts urged the Biden administration not to allow the craft to return to China, as well as to allow the us to recover the equipment and gain our own insights.
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters on Tuesday that they expected to have new guidance regarding how the U.S. government should handle unidentified aerial objects.
Feb. 10: Friction between the U.S. and China over balloons continues to ramp up. The U.S. sanctions six civilian Chinese aerospace companies it says are supporting Beijing’s military surveillance efforts.
The U.S. gives a report about the Chinese balloon shot down to 40 countries. Both chambers of Congress receive briefings on the incident on Capitol Hill. The resolution condemns China’s alleged snooping in the U.S.
Emily reported from Taiwan. Lexie Schapitl reported from Washington, D.C. Vincent Ni and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
The American High-Altitude Objects Known as “Spy Balloons” After the Last Known Object was Shot Down Over Water
The meeting will take place in Munich, Germany, where both are attending a global security conference, said the source, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
He wouldn’t talk into any specific intelligence that we may have. “Again, we know this is a Chinese balloon and that it has the ability to maneuver, but I’ll just leave it at that.”
Biden’s White House speech to address the matter four days after the last known object was shot down comes after the president faced increasing pressure in Washington to be more transparent about the situation and his decision making as commander-in-chief.
“We don’t have any evidence that there have been a sudden increase of objects in the sky,” Biden said. We have to keep adapting our approach to dealing with the challenges because we are seeing more of them partially because of the steps we have taken.
Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, will lead a government-wide effort to address future encounters with similar high-altitude objects.
Specifically, the administration will be establishing an improved inventory of unmanned airborne objects above American airspace, implementing further measures to detect the objects, update rules and regulations for encounters with these types of objects above US skies, and establishing common global norms for similar encounters.
Administration officials from the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community have briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill on the initial Chinese spy balloon in recent days.
And officials had been wary of having the president speak publicly about the objects until more information was gathered about the three unidentified objects that were downed last weekend.
“The military advised against shooting it down over land because of the sheer size of it. It was the size of multiple school buses and it posed a risk to people on the ground if it was shot down where people lived,” he said. “Instead, we tracked it closely, we analyzed its capabilities and we learned more about how it operates. We were able to protect sensitive sites because we knew its path. We waited until it was safe over water, so that we could recover substantial components for further analysis.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry says a Chinese Weather Balloon Landed on One of its Outlying Islands: A Brief Report from the President and the Secretary of State
The president said that on Friday the U.S. put restrictions on six firms that are supporting the Chinese army and defense program of the U.S.
“Our intelligence community is still assessing all three incidences. Biden said that they were reporting to him daily and that he would send that information to the Congress.
When asked in an interview about the Biden administration’s all-Senate classified briefings, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine stated that she did not find it very informative.
The visuals from the pilots who flew past the objects before they were shot down have been reviewed, but they weren’t as bright as they should have been because of the high speed and small size of the largely stationary objects.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is conducting the interagency review and is likely to have “a set of parameters” for making decisions about how to handle the kinds of objects shot down by U.S. fighter jets in the past several days, Kirby said.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s Defense Ministry says a Chinese weather balloon landed on one of its outlying islands, amid U.S. accusations that such craft have been dispatched worldwide to spy on Washington and its allies.
The ministry’s statement on Thursday said the balloon carried equipment registered to a state-owned electronics company in the northern city of Taiyuan.
China regularly sends military aircraft and warships into Taiwan air identification zone and across the middle line of the Taiwan Strait. That has prompted Taiwan to boost military purchases from the U.S., expand domestic production of local planes, submarines and fighting ships, and extend compulsory military service for all males.
Taiyuan Wireless First Factory Ltd., a contractor of the China Meteorological Administration, says the balloon was not a weather craft
Reached by phone, a publicity officer at the company, identified in the report as Taiyuan Wireless (Radio) First Factory Ltd., said it had provided electronics but had not built the balloon.
The spokesperson, who gave only his surname, Liu, said Taiyuan was among a number of companies that provided equipment to the China Meteorological Administration.
The balloon was likely among those launched daily to monitor weather and was probably set off from the coastal city of Xiamen with no fixed course, he said.
It was most likely deflation because it reached a maximum altitude of over 100,000 feet. The Taiwan Strait is regularly flown over by these balloons and they have recently begun to draw attention.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that the information was written in simplified Chinese characters on the mainland.
Washington is Taiwan’s closest military and diplomatic ally, despite a lack of formal ties, which were cut in 1979. Beijing protests strongly over contacts with the US, but its aggressive diplomacy is helping build bipartisan support for the island on Capitol Hill.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is developing “sharper rules” to track, monitor and potentially shoot down unknown aerial objects, following three weeks of high-stakes drama sparked by the discovery of a suspected Chinese spy balloon transiting much of the country.
Beijing insists the balloon was a civilian craft for scientific research, and that shooting it down was an overreaction and a violation of international practice.
Towards a resolution of the China-Russia diplomatic crisis: Beijing and Beijing take steps to resolve the balloon-triggered tension between the two sides
It’s unclear how helpful a meeting between Blinken and Wang will be in stabilizing bilateral relations, given that both sides have dug in their heels on the balloon.
On Friday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the U.S. could not seek dialogue while at the same time taking steps to deepen the crisis, a possible reference to sanctions the U.S. imposed on six Chinese companies in response to the balloon incident.
The U.S. description of the meeting, which resumed diplomatic contact between Washington and Beijing after it broke down over the balloon episode, said nothing about how the Chinese official, Wang Yi, responded. An equally sharp exchange was described in the summary on Chinese state media.
While President Biden often talks of aspiring to a relationship in which the two nations are in vigorous competition but not conflict, many at the Munich Security Conference — an annual meeting of diplomatic, intelligence officials and lawmakers — expressed concerns that the handling of the balloon episode merely highlighted how the two countries had failed to de-escalate, even when no lives were lost.
The United States would soon provide new information to demonstrate Beijing was considering giving lethal assistance to Russia, according to Mr. Blinken in an interview with NBC on Saturday night.
That phrase was particularly notable given that Mr. Wang had said, during earlier remarks on Saturday at the conference, that “the Cold War mentality is back” in global affairs.
Danny Russel, vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute, an independent research organization, said that despite the pointed rhetoric, the meeting that took place may help the two sides move on.
Mr. Wang also met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany on the sidelines of the Munich conference on Saturday, and afterward, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said on Twitter that China was “ready to fully resume exchanges with Germany and other European countries in various fields.”
In a U.S. summary of the meeting in Munich, Price said Blinken “directly spoke to the unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law by the [People’s Republic of China] high-altitude surveillance balloon in U.S. territorial airspace, underscoring that this irresponsible act must never again occur.”
Blinken also discussed other ongoing affairs with Wang, according to Price, including discouraging China from supporting Russia in its ongoing war with Ukraine and condemning North Korea’s firing of a missile into the sea of Japan.
CGTN also said Wang “urged the U.S. side to change course, acknowledge and repair the damage that its excessive use of force caused to China-U.S. relations.”
Wang criticized the U.S. for downing the Chinese balloon, saying it was absurd and hysterical. The incident, he added in remarks at the conference, “doesn’t show American strength but the opposite.”