Balloon row cannot hide reality that US and China need one another

Published date07 February 2023
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
Although the Pentagon said the balloon was engaged in surveillance, it presented no "military or physical threat" or a significant intelligence-gathering risk

China expressed regret over the incursion into US airspace, an unusual step for Beijing, saying the balloon was a civilian craft gathering mostly meteorological data.

Top diplomat US secretary of state Antony Blinken postponed a planned visit to Beijing but he told Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, that the US remained committed to diplomatic engagement and open lines of communication and would be prepared to reschedule the visit when conditions were right.

Wang said that in the face of unexpected situations, the two sides should communicate in a timely manner and try to control their differences and avoid mistakes. But as images of the balloon dominated cable news channels, the White House came under political pressure to respond aggressively and it bowed to that pressure.

The balloon incident is precisely the kind of event that Washington and Beijing hoped to prevent escalating by establishing lines of communication between the two capitals.

Unexpected events Postponing Blinken's visit means leaving both sides exposed for longer to the risk of unexpected events spiralling into full-blown crises.

There is...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT