China to impose countermeasures against US entities over balloon hype, a 'necessary and timely' response
Illegal US balloons flew over China's Xinjiang, Xizang
Published: Feb 15, 2023 09:14 PM Updated: Feb 15, 2023 10:52 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

China vows to impose countermeasures against US entities that undermine China's sovereignty and security after Washington used armed forces to shoot down a Chinese civilian airship and the US government used the incident as an excuse to illegally sanction Chinese entities.

Chinese experts believe that the latest reaction toward the US' illegally sanctioning some Chinese entities over the balloon hype is necessary and reasonable. Since the balloon incident happened, China has been holding a professional and calm attitude, as well as notifying the US in the first place, but regretfully, the US overreacted and made groundless accusations against China while imposing unilateral sanctions. 

Meanwhile, some experts called for an effective management channel between the two sides over handling similar incidents in the future, as the latest moves of the US, which fully underscore its contradictory mindset and paranoia toward China, are not conducive to the already strained US-China relations. 

The US has released a large number of high-altitude balloons from its own soil and they have conducted operations around the world since last May. Without the approval of the relevant authorities in China, these balloons have illegally flown over China's airspace at least 10 times, including over Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Southwest China's Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, revealed at a routine press conference on Wednesday

China has repeatedly explained to the US that Chinese civilian airship flew into the US airspace due to force majeure. The US neglected to mention the US balloons' illegal flight over Chinese airspace without China's approval, and instead accused China of spreading false information, Wang Wenbin said. 

The US accused the Chinese airship of flying into US airspace and violating American sovereignty, but how will the US explain illegal balloons flying over China's airspace, Wang Wenbin questioned.

"It's hard to correct many of the US' unreasonable behaviors with language or reason. We need to take self-defense actions to make the US government view things on an equal footing when it comes to US-China relations," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Compared with China's calm and professional handling of US balloons that illegally entered China's airspace, the US has overreacted to the Chinese civilian airship that flew into its airspace due to force majeure, the spokesperson said. 

The US military shot down another airborne object over Lake Huron on Sunday on the orders of US President Joe Biden, marking the third day in a row that an unidentified object was shot down over North American airspace. The US government said on Tuesday that so far it has no evidence that the three airborne objects it shot down last weekend were linked to China or any other foreign spy program, according to US media reports. 

When Wang Wenbin was asked whether the other airborne objects were connected to the original case, he said, "I don't see any other connection other than overreaction."

China notified the US in the first place when the incident happened and handled the matter in a professional and restrained manner. But the US not only used armed forces to shoot the airship down but also imposed groundless long-arm jurisdiction to sanction Chinese entities, "which is unacceptable," Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"It's necessary and reasonable for us to respond to those unilateral moves," he said. 

Still, mixed signals continue to emerge from the US in recent days over moves to ease the tension with China. For example, some US media reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is considering a meeting with China's top diplomat Wang Yi at the upcoming Munich Security Conference. The Chinese side has not confirmed such an arrangement. 

Also, US President Joe Biden recently said the Chinese balloon shot down by the US military did not damage bilateral relations. 

"If the US sincerely hopes to communicate and cooperate with us, we'll surely welcome it. But if it wants to use certain topics as leverage and sticks with a cold war mentality, it will be a delusion and we'll confront it without fear," Diao said.