China condemns the shooting down of the alleged spy balloon by the United States | International

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The Chinese balloon incident detected while flying over US territory and accused of espionage has further strained the most important geopolitical relationship on the planet. China, which has reiterated actively and passively that the device was "an unmanned airship for meteorological purposes", has condemned this Sunday the decision of the United States to shoot it down on Saturday. In a sign that the matter has surpassed the barriers of diplomacy, the Ministry of Defense of the Asian giant has publicly positioned itself for the first time on this issue, showing its firm opposition to the "use of force exerted by Washington" and has asserted that reserves the authority to respond if deemed necessary.

The official media have not been slow to criticize the demolition on this Sunday: the daily china dailyowned by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party, denounces in an editorial that "paranoia" leads anti-Chinese to turn the balloon incident into a "Hollywood blockbuster", while analysts close to the government consider that Washington "should pay the consequences".

The state news agency Xinhua collected this Sunday a brief statement by Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei in which he described the US reaction of "attacking" its "unmanned civil aircraft" as "clearly exaggerated". Tan has expressed the "solemn protest of the ministry against this decision by the US side" and added that the military authorities reserve "the right to use the necessary means to deal with similar situations."

The Foreign Ministry, for its part, has issued a third statement in which it ensures that Washington repeatedly received notification that the airship had entered US airspace "unintentionally and due to force majeure." "China clearly asked the US side to handle the matter properly, calmly, professionally and restraint," the text emphasizes. According to the Foreign Ministry, the US authorities ruled out that it could pose a military threat or to people on the ground, so they consider that the maneuver on Saturday was "excessive" and "violates international conventions." Foreign Affairs has declared that China will resolutely watch over the legitimate rights and interests of the relevant companies and, like Defense, has warned that the Asian power reserves the authority to respond if it deems it necessary.

on his blog Hu Xijin's Remarksthe ex-director of the nationalist newspaper Global Times, one of the analysts closest to the Government, attacks the coverage —in his “disproportionate” opinion— that the West has made of the incident. "The United States did not let this 'lost balloon' simply fly away, but used advanced F-22 fighter jets to shoot it down with missiles, in order to stoke the 'America has won' discourse," Hu said. . “[Las formas] they show that Washington is incapable of dealing with an incident without politicizing it. The country as a whole has lost objectivity, ”she adds. Wang Xiaoxuan, International Relations expert quoted by the newspaper china daily, points out that destroying the device is a "blatant provocation" that "should not be allowed under any circumstances." "China should prepare countermeasures now that the United States is intensifying its intimidation tactics," Wang concludes.

The detection of the balloon has opened a new wedge in the fragile ties between Beijing and Washington. Relations between the two bottomed out last August, after the visit of the then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.

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His stop for less than 24 hours on the self-governing island, which China considers an inalienable part of its territory, motivated the fury of Beijing, which responded with unprecedented military maneuvers in the waters of the Strait of Formosa. China has also cut off all communication with Washington on key issues such as the environment and defense.

military capacity

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, addressed that disagreement three months later, in their first face-to-face meeting since the US leader entered the White House, held within the framework of the G- November 20 in Bali (Indonesia). The identification of the Chinese device by the Pentagon this week has spoiled, however, what was expected to be the next contact between the two main world powers. Although Beijing apologized on Friday and assured on Saturday that it has never "violated the territory or airspace of any sovereign country", the increase in suspicion that the device fulfilled espionage and surveillance functions led Washington to suspend the trip to the Chinese capital of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, scheduled for this Sunday. He was to be the first by an American politician of this rank since 2018.

The growing military capabilities of the Asian giant have become a source of instability and tension in relations with the United States. Beijing is the second largest investor in the world in Defense (behind Washington), an area to which it currently allocates more than 200,000 million euros and whose budget has increased by 30% in the last five years. In 2022, the rise was 7.1% year-on-year.

The modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and its technological capabilities is one of the great objectives of Xi Jinping, who also holds the position of chairman of the Central Military Commission. During the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, held in October and in which Xi consolidated a third term as secretary general of the institution —which gives him unprecedented power since Mao's time—, the Chinese president assured that he would “ they will strengthen the strategic capabilities of the Army to defend China's sovereignty, security and development interests" and "it will ensure that the people's armed forces effectively fulfill their missions and tasks in the new era."

Propaganda is also echoing these military advances. Last Monday, the official Weibo (Chinese Twitter) account of a PLA division posted a video detailing the performance of a new supersonic anti-ship missile, the Yingji-21 (which translates as Eagle Strike-21). ). In this type of rare publication, he specified that the projectile is capable of reaching a speed of Mach 10 (10 times the speed of sound), "beyond the interception capacity of any anti-missile weapon system," according to the message. .

This growing military and technological rivalry has led Washington to try to curb China's development of sophisticated weaponry in recent years. The Biden Administration imposed a blockade in October on the semiconductor sector in the Asian giant with the aim of preventing Beijing's access to cutting-edge technology and, at the end of January, managed to get the Netherlands and Japan to agree to restrict exports of equipment to China. manufacturing chips that can be used to manufacture advanced weapons.

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