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Chinese Balloon Over U.S. Airspace Causes Controversy

Chinese Balloon Over U.S. Airspace Causes Controversy

Chinese Balloon Over U.S. Airspace Causes Controversy


Staff Writer

March 2, 2023

Ethan Choi '26

On February 4th, the U.S. Air Force shot down a Chinese-operated balloon, which had been spotted flying over several US states.

U.S. government officials speculate that the high-altitude weather balloon contained technology used to spy on military sites by intercepting electronic communications. Chinese leaders denied these claims, stating that the balloon was a civilian-owned instrument that had blown off course. The encounter heightened political tensions between the U.S. and China.

Months before the incident, at a G20 event in Bali, Indonesia, President Biden promised to work together with China to address global challenges. In an address to the nation on February 16, President Biden said, “Make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down. We seek competition, not conflict, with China. We’re not looking for a new Cold War. But I make no apologies — I make no apologies, and we will compete.”

An anonymous Chinese student expressed worry about tension between the U.S. and China. They said, “It was shocking that the U.S. immediately categorized the balloon as a spy balloon. The U.S. did not have substantial evidence, even though the FBI is investigating the electronic devices found on the spy-balloon. This shows how prejudiced the Western media is against China.”

Ella Yu ’24 also spoke on the biases of the media. She said, “On Twitter, a Mississippi senator named Joe Carter posted a photo of a weather balloon with misspelled words meant to mock how he thinks Asians speak English. But after that tweet, I saw that so many people went against him and supported the Stop AAPI Hate movement. The fact that people who weren’t Asian saw his comments and stood against him has made me feel more safe in this country.”

Chase Dobson ’23, a co-head of the International Relations Society, said, “I disagree with the way that Republicans have blamed Biden for letting a ‘potential threat’ fly over the U.S continents. Even during the Trump administration, the Pentagon suspected this type of fly-over three times. The Republicans are just trying to score cheap political points. However, I believe that much of the outrage over this invasion of our air space is justifi ed.”

Regarding the tensions sparked by the balloon, Dobson ’23 said, “I don’t think it will have nearly as lasting of an effect as China’s recent support of Russia’s War and the increased trade between the two countries. The situation will definitely increase tensions [between the U.S. and China] in the months before China’s decision to fully affirm its relationship with Russia. In this case, the U.S.’s reaction could provoke closeness between the two countries. This is something that the U.S. does not want.”

Additional unidentified flying objects were shot down along the US-Canada Border on the evening of February 13. Severe weather conditions prevented the government from recovering their remains, so their origin is uncertain.

Ethan Choi is a staff writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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