US-China Balloon Controversy

By Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro Feb 20, 2023

Editor's Note: The author is Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

Now the US-China bilateral relations have been again derailed due to the US false and fake propaganda against China’s peaceful pursuits and civilian research projects and aviation activities.  This ongoing national narrative about the so-called Chinese spy balloon has achieved nothing but proved self-embarrassing.

The Wall Street has confirmed that the US military and many civilian agencies have flown their own numerous balloons at high altitudes which should also be investigated. 

Now independent regional and international media are not ready to buy the US-manipulated stance about the scope, motive, utility, and aim of the Chinese balloon which has been declared as a civilian entity and on a metrological research mission by the foreign ministry of China. China consistently upheld that it was a civilian craft with no secret apparatus and covert mission and that had blown off course.

It seems that US politicians, policy makers and military establishment are trying to paint a self-conceived virtual reality among its citizens and constantly spreading hatred against China for media consumptions, political compulsions and whims and wishes of its regional allies.

It may be a planned media hype to create the Chinese war threat to seek more military budget and Cold War escalations, all for a small harmless balloon.

The US has been abusing other regional countries with its constant and continued spy and espionage activities and cyber covert technologies. It violated the Chinese space in high altitude sphere more than 10 times during 2022 which vividly deflected from its self-claimed neutrality and high moral grounds in this regard.

The US has been notorious for its large-scale and indiscriminate surveillance and stealing of secrets from all over the world including its own allies.

It has been conducting its anti-China campaigns in terms of secret operations and building military bases. Even most recently, it acquired nine more military bases in the Philippines. It encourages military alliance and cooperation among its regional allies like Japan, Korea, Australia and India.

The declassified documents and investigating hearings of the US Congress and the international media have already confirmed that the US is the largest monitoring and espionage country having the world’s largest spy network around the globe.

In this regard, its National Security Agency monitors the content of text messages, and calls of political leaders in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. Its underwater unmanned operation was traced in Namibia. It is indeed the largest spy monitoring empire and the international community also knows it clearly.

It seems that the US media intentionally concealed the truth about a deadly chemical leak from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. It caused a major fire and alarm over a possible imminent explosion. The policy makers of the US apparently projected the Chinese civilian balloon as a big threat while censored reports about the explosive train derailment and toxic chemicals.

It sparked a heated debate on social media and mass media outlets and a majority of them called it another “Chernobyl disaster” in the modern world. The US authorities did not manage the accident properly and was apparently trying to withhold information and exaggerate the balloon event to distract national media attention. The residents were forced to leave their houses due to control the collateral damage. International health and environment activists criticised the US for the Ohio train derailment.

To conclude, the US-China diplomatic ties are now passing through difficult times. The ongoing US-China trade war, unilateral imposition of sanctions against various Chinese entities and US compounding geo-political and geostrategic sponsored “China Containment Theory” has further deteriorated because of the most recent balloon controversy.

Hopefully, political dust will be gradually settled and ultimately diplomatic sanity will  prevaile for mutually befitting propositions. There is an urgent need to pursue peaceful means in terms of conflict resolution, and disaster management and sincere efforts should also be initiated to promote dialogue, diplomacy and development channels to ease the prevailing diplomatic frictions between the two countries.

The ongoing balloon controversy should be settled as soon as possible.




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