“Treat with a cool head”
China wants to investigate reports of spy balloon
02/03/2023, 10:05 am
According to the Pentagon, a Chinese spy balloon has been sighted over the US state of Montana. The Pentagon suspects he was collecting data on a US nuclear weapons cache. But China claims to know nothing about it – and warns against “hyping up” the matter.
China’s government says it is investigating reports of a Chinese spy balloon over the US state of Montana and advises against hasty speculation. “We collect and check the facts,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning in Beijing. “We hope that both sides will treat the matter with a cool head.” It is not helpful to speculate or hype the matter until it is clear what happened.
The US military had previously sighted a Chinese spy balloon over the north of the US. The balloon flew over Montana on Wednesday, where 150 ICBMs equipped with nuclear warheads are stored at a military base in the north, according to the Wall Street Journal. The balloon’s spy systems provide “limited value” compared to information China can gather with low-Earth satellites. One is sure that the balloon comes from China, it said from the Pentagon.
According to US information, there have been similar incidents in the past. The difference this time is that the balloon is staying over the United States longer than usual. The balloon is therefore still over the United States. Shooting him down is not an option because of the danger from falling debris. The Pentagon is said to be in contact with China over the incident.
Incident overshadows Blinken visit
The sighting is also explosive because US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Beijing on Sunday. It is the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China since October 2018. Relations between the two countries are strained. Issues of contention include China’s backing for Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, its threats against Taiwan, Beijing’s disputed claims in the South China Sea, the trade war, and American high-tech export controls.
China accuses the US of wanting to stem its rise and pursuing a new Cold War. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning recently accused the United States of not only triggering the conflict in Ukraine, but also of further fueling it. The US, for its part, accuses Chinese companies of supporting the Russian side.