The Chinese government is fuming after the communist nation’s surveillance balloon was shot down on Saturday off the coast of South Carolina after President Joe Biden’s inexplicable dawdling, blasting the move as a “clear overreaction” while warning that it may respond in a yet unknown manner.
While Bejing was likely pleased that the delay in shooting down the aerial spy vehicle which it claimed had been blown off track by the weather, allowed it to spend several days over the continental U.S. collecting and possibly transmitting the captured data back to China, they were displeased that it was finally blown out of the sky by U.S. fighter jets.
“China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the U.S. due to force majeure was totally unexpected.”
“The Chinese side has clearly asked the U.S. side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner,” it added. “The spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Defense also noted that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”
“Under such circumstances, the U.S. use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” the Foreign Ministry added. “China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary.”
(Video: The Daily Mail)
The communist regime’s strong reaction came days after it said that politicians and the media had “hyped up” the intrusion into America’s airspace to “attack and smear China” and warned the U.S. to not take any action against its “maneuverable” spy balloon.
Chinese state media also accused the U.S. military and media of “hyping” the China threat over the balloon incident.
“The U.S. is being urged to be more sincere in making concrete moves to solve problems with China, instead of making more provocations, analysts said,” reported Xinhua which serves as the mouthpiece for the Chinese government.
What form any reprisals dialed up by Beijing may take are as yet unknown but one former Trump administration Defense official predicted that the Chinese “will continue to claim that the United States overreacted” by shooting down the balloon.
“Beijing may also engage in further provocations against U.S. interests in the days ahead,” Dr. James Anderson told Fox News, suggesting that China could interfere with efforts to recover the debris.
“It is possible, though one would certainly hope unlikely, that in the coming days one or more PLA-directed maritime vessels may seek to interfere with the recovery effort of the balloon debris located within U.S. territorial waters,” Anderson told the outlet.
“If this were to happen, U.S. warships would be fully justified in providing any such intruders with one-way tickets to the bottom of the ocean,” he said, suggesting the possibility of a naval encounter that would dramatically escalate tensions between the two global superpowers.
Another former Defense Department official said that Beijing will continue to accuse the U.S. of overreacting to the shooting down of the surveillance balloon.
“They’ll claim that it was all completely innocent. That it was a weather balloon,” said Heino Klink, who is a former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia.
“They’ll reiterate the statements they’ve made before. But in essence, as is the norm for them, they’ll launch counteraccusations and deny that they were in the wrong,” Klink told Fox News. “It is the norm for them to try to portray themselves as the innocent actor abiding by international law and international standards of conduct, when in fact it’s the exact opposite.”
He also warned that Beijing could potentially use the shootdown to justify “incursions into Taiwanese airspace,” a potential flashpoint in relations between the U.S. and China.
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