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The Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement Saturday in response to the U.S. blowing its “weather” balloon to smithereens off the shores of North Carolina Saturday, claiming the missile strike was an “excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention” and that the communist government “retains the right to respond further.”
They also said that the lighter-than-air craft drifted off course to inadvertently cross into U.S. airspace and that the entire incident was “totally accidental.”
Sure, I believe you.
The New York Times reports:
The ministry also asserted that officials in Washington had said that the balloon posed no military threat. “In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the statement said. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved…”
The People’s Daily app, which bills itself as China state-affiliated media, made sure the Twitter-verse got the message:
"China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of relevant enterprises," the ministry said in the statement, adding that it would "reserve the right to make further necessary responses."
— People's Daily app (@PeoplesDailyapp) February 5, 2023
I wrote early Saturday that although a balloon might not sound particularly threatening, the technology has advanced dramatically and a balloon could be used to launch drone armies, EMP attacks, conventional bombs, and more. This one in particular was no party balloon—it was about the size of three school buses. Balloons are also hard to spot on the radar,
What I found most interesting in researching this type of military craft, however, is that artificial intelligence has made it possible to control the direction of high-altitude balloons by adjusting the height:
In the stratosphere there’s always a wind going in the direction you want it’s just a matter of adjusting altitude. Sounds simple but it wasn’t possible until recently. It’s pretty amazing what these algorithms can do. 7/10https://t.co/vtwaeMiQax
— William “Balloon Guy” Kim (@TheKimulation) July 6, 2022
This pretty much blows China’s claim that the balloon drifted off course out of the water.
The story has been fast-moving; here is a list of some of RedState’s recent reporting:
- Balloons Aren’t Just for Kids’ Parties—They Can Launch Bombs, Drone Swarms and Even EMP Attacks
- Jill Biden Gushes Over Joe’s Handling of Chinese Spy Balloon
- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s Statement on Downing of Chinese Balloon Is Ironic Comedy at Its Best
- Biden Says He Told Military to Shoot Down Balloon on Wednesday, They Said to Wait
- Pentagon Briefing on Chinese Spy Balloon Signals Massive Weakness
- China Is Preparing for War at ‘Any Time,’ Says Noted China Expert in Chilling Assessment
The statement from China’s foreign ministry at first sounds belligerent and tough—but consider that they have to sound like that, otherwise they know they will be perceived as weak by rival nations. But are they actually furious? My bet is no; they knew all along that it would eventually be shot down. They know we have a legitimate right to do so, and they also know that if an American aircraft wandered over mainland China they’d shoot it out of the sky in about five minutes.
Is China a long-term threat to the United States? Absolutely—but I don’t think they want to start a world war over this incident.
I agree with those that think this whole ballooning controversy was a test—a test to see what the United States’ capabilities were, and how determined we were to protect our airspace.
It was a test we failed. Blowing up the aircraft long after it had presumably sent gigabytes of intel back to the CCP is hardly a win.