Chinese foreign relations aren’t looking good


David B. Gleason - Wikimedia Commons

Under the Biden administration, it seems the U.S. Department of Defense is heightening its surveillance.

Maximillian Lisowski, Opinion Editor

The U.S. military shot down what they believe to be a spy balloon created by the Chinese military last week. But what does this mean for our foreign relations with China?

Well, so far, all we know is that the Pentagon said China has declined a request from Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to speak with his Chinese counterpart Saturday. This does not help our already-poor relationship with China.

What makes this concerning is the fact the balloon was spotted in Montana and made its way to South Carolina before it was shot down. This could have left plenty of time for the Chinese government to gain intel on U.S. military bases in Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and potentially many more if the balloon was actually spying equipment.  

After the recovery of the debris in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pentagon reached out to China in hopes that they could explain the situation. According to a New York Times article, the Pentagon’s Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder shed some light on U.S. and Chinese conversation.

“We believe in the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and the P.R.C. in order to responsibly manage the relationship,” Gen. Ryder wrote in an email statement. “Lines between our militaries are particularly important in moments like this.”

Unfortunately, Gen. Ryder was not able to arrange a call with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe, but he said the Pentagon will keep trying to get in contact.

Could the Chinese government’s silence mean that it was indeed a vehicle for spying, or are we supposed to buy the “it was a weather balloon” excuse?

I believe that our suspicions of the equipment is warranted. Given that we have had a hard time getting in contact with the Chinese defense minister in the past, it begs the question of when we will see another form of spying in the near future. 

It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, spoke at an event hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, saying that under the Biden administration, surveillance has been improved, so that was probably the reason why officials were able to spot the balloon last week. This likely means that we will see even more improvements in the near future if the U.S. determines that the Chinese government is indeed spying on us. 

If it was actually a weather balloon that somehow ended up in the middle of our country, that would be the best outcome. However, I find it hard to believe given that it needed to make its way thousands of miles across an ocean, or through Canada, to make its way across the majority of the United States.