Reconnaissance Balloons and Relationship Cracks
Reconnaissance Balloons and Relationship Cracks
  • Choi Eun-seo
  • 승인 2023.03.29 17:32
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  The United States shot down an unidentified object over Lake Huron on the border between the U.S. and Canada on February 12. It is the fourth time that such an unidentified object has been shot down over North America. And on February 3, the Pentagon officially announced that it was tracking a high-altitude reconnaissance balloon floating over the U.S. mainland and was confident it belonged to China.
  The reconnaissance balloon described by the U.S. side appeared to have a large solar panel reminiscent of the International Space Station, which appeared to be equipped with high-performance electronic equipment. It also described that it was the size of three large buses with antennas. China said the reconnaissance balloon had already lost control.
  The Joe Biden administration announced that Chinese reconnaissance balloons discovered and shot down over the U.S. have been detected in more than 40 countries on five continents. China argued the balloons were a “civilian airship for weather observation” and that the invasion of territory was a mistake.
  Experts say balloons are cheaper than satellites in terms of cost and are easier to use than drones. It also has the advantage of observing targets longer because it is slow and controllable. Gail Helt, a former CIA intelligence analyst, said the reconnaissance balloons could stay for several days, and it is more effective than reconnaissance satellites and allows extensive reconnaissance.
  As the U.S. and China conflict continues, opinions have emerged that it may intensify. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled his scheduled visit to China. In a joint press conference after the South Korea-U.S. foreign ministers’ meeting, Blinken said, “We will postpone our scheduled visit to China in consideration of China’s unacceptable behavior.” He also said, “The entry of Chinese reconnaissance balloons into U.S. airspace is a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law.”
  Although the U.S. and China conflict seemed to worsen, President Biden’s first public briefing on February 16 seems to have entered an adjustment phase. President strongly warned against China’s infringement of territorial sovereignty by reconnaissance balloons but also left a message that he expected a dialogue with President Xi Jinping. In response, China also made a gesture to avoid conflicts between countries.


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