Chinese Spy Balloon Derails Blinken’s Upcoming China Trip
Setback to US-China relations
The discovery of a Chinese spy balloon floating over the US has escalated into a political crisis, jeopardizing attempts to improve the strained relationship between the two nations. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his planned visit to Beijing, saying that he would visit “when conditions allow.” Analysts believe that the situation will only be resolved if China takes concrete steps to restore goodwill.
The balloon incident has further soured the already poor relationship between the US and China. The relationship has been deteriorating for several years and reached its worst point in decades last August. Despite this, the Biden administration is still hoping to maintain a stable relationship and avoid spiralling into conflict.
However, Republicans in the US House of Representatives are already investigating potential threats from China and are putting pressure on President Biden to address the issue of the balloon. The discovery of the balloon has hardened positions and it is unclear if the two nations can successfully revive their agreement to increase communication.
Michael McCaul, the Republican head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, raised questions on Friday about why the administration had not shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon floating over the U.S. McCaul accused the president of permitting the balloon to pose a significant ongoing threat to the country’s security. Previously, he agreed with a statement predicting war with China by 2025.
Blinken’s China Visit
The Chinese government expressed regret that the “airship,” used for meteorological and scientific purposes, had wandered off course. Meanwhile, some Chinese commentators criticized the U.S. reaction. Zhu Feng, executive dean of the School of International Relations at Nanjing University, said that if Blinken had cancelled his trip to Beijing due to the balloon incident, it would have appeared as if he was using it as an excuse to avoid the visit in the first place.
Blinken’s visit would have faced intense criticism, with some analysts suggesting it would have been perceived as a weak approach towards China and could have been viewed poorly in Congress where there is broad-based support for taking a tough stance on Beijing.
The planned visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to address critical issues, including the detention of American citizens in China and cooperation on stopping the flow of fentanyl. Despite low expectations, Blinken hoped to make progress in these areas and build momentum for future discussions.
However, the recent political controversy surrounding a suspected Chinese spy balloon has caused the trip to be postponed, creating obstacles for future efforts to stabilize the relationship between the two nations. The administration will face criticism from Congress and must achieve significant results in order for Blinken to justify another visit to Beijing.
China, too, seeks a stable relationship with the U.S. to focus on its economy, which has been impacted by its COVID policy. The visit was seen as an opportunity for the two nations to navigate future crises and develop ways to work together. However, the balloon incident has likely postponed any potential thaw in relations.
Despite the setback, some experts believe the balloon incident provides a chance for the U.S. and China to work out rules of engagement in space and high altitudes, where their military forces may have close contact. The opportunity should not be missed to reduce risk and prevent future violations of U.S. airspace, they say.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team