Yesterday, the ongoing saga of the Chinese spy balloon came to a dramatic end, courtesy of an AIM-9X air-to-air missile fired from an F-22 Raptor. The shootdown finally took place after America watched the balloon moseying along in our airspace for days on end and after the Biden administration tried to hide the information from the public for as much as a month. One might imagine that Beijing might have apologized (or at least let the matter drop) after being caught with their hand so deep in the cookie jar, but that’s not the case. Xi Jinping’s people not only continued to complain about the destruction of their property, but they doubled down last night, saying that they now have a “right to respond further” and called the destruction of the balloon an “excessive reaction.” Something tells me they don’t really understand the psyche of the American people. (NY Post)
The Chinese government said Saturday that President Biden’s decision to shoot down the spy balloon that crossed America was an “excessive reaction” and that it “retains the right to respond further.”
China claims that its balloon was a “civilian airship” and not the spy device the US claimed it to be, and said that the US’s decision to destroy its property “seriously violates international convention,” according to a statement obtained by The New York Times.
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the statement said. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”
China is also continuing to insist that the balloon was a “civilian aircraft” intended to collect meteorological data and that it had simply “blown off course.” I will commit one of the cardinal sins of journalism by quoting myself from Twitter on that subject. (Those not conversant with the history of ufology may not get the joke, so allow me to offer my apologies in advance.)
Dear CCP @CPofCN
Just speaking from the American #UFO community, we don't even believe OUR OWN frigging govt when they say "It's just a weather balloon." We're certainly not going to believe you jerkwads.
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) February 5, 2023
Returning to the subject at hand, what exactly does the Chinese government mean when they suggest that they might “respond further?” Are you going to send another balloon? Perhaps a bigger balloon? Or are we talking about seriously throwing down?
I’m going to offer Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt on the next steps moving forward. People from all across the country and from both political ideologies were angered by a Chinese surveillance craft sailing calmly through our skies. And they were frustrated at how long it took to take action.
I understand that the Pentagon needs to be measured in when and how they respond to an event like this because we don’t want to give our adversaries too much data about our readiness and detection capabilities. But if this does happen again, I’m hopeful that the President now understands that he needs to be more forceful in his response and more transparent with the people as soon as the information can safely be made public. Fingers crossed, anyway.
In hindsight, it’s also worth reminding everyone of the hypocrisy on display in Beijing this weekend. At Townhall, our colleague Sarah Arnold has published a trip down memory lane, reminding us of how China responded when an American spy plane came to close to their airspace in 2001.
In 2001, the Chinese did not hesitate even a little to interfere with a U.S. Navy spy plane flying just 50 miles southeast of China’s Hainan Island.
The U.S. was conducting a routine surveillance mission when a Chinese fighter jet intercepted, forcing the Americans to make an emergency landing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. plane’s nose and left wing hit the Chinese plane and caused it to crash.
Our plane was forced down and had to land on a Chinese runway. The pilot and his crew were met by Chinese soldiers brandishing rifles and were taken to a military barracks at Lingshui. (They were later released after the Chinese pillaged our plane.)
That’s how China responded to an American plane that was still 50 miles off the coast of the nearest Chinese soil. The response was swift, brutal, and (admittedly) efficient. But now they’re complaining and making threats after one of their “aircraft” glided right over Malmstrom Air Force Base, the location of some of our nuclear silos? And after it pretty much flew over downtown Charleston? Cry me a river. Joe Biden needs to shoot the next balloon down (assuming there will be one) before it reaches the islands in western Alaska.