Chinese Spy Balloons Found in U.S. Cause Concerns

In the recent week, three balloons in the air from China have been shot down by the United States Military.


In the recent week, three balloons in the air from China have been shot down by the United States Military.

Natalie McGarry, Editor-in-Chief

It’s a bird, it’s a plane; no, it’s a spy balloon. 

In the recent week, three balloons in the air from China have been shot down by the United States Military.

Since earlier this month, frequent sightings of unidentified flying objects have been spotted in U.S. airspace. With these confirmed Chinese balloons, tensions are getting higher between China and the U.S. Very little information has been released over these sightings but the speculations of war and other violent intentions are the main topic of discussion.

Sightings of these balloons started in early Feb., starting Friday on Feb. 4 when the first balloon was spotted by the U.S. military and then shortly shot down by the coast of South Carolina. After the balloon was retrieved from the water, the balloon was brought to shore to be investigated and further looked into. The balloon was found equipped with antennas, collar panels, and the correct technology to investigate and monitor its surroundings. It had the purpose to gather information, but over what was the question.

From Feb. 10 to Feb. 12, three more unidentified objects were spotted over U.S. and Canadian airspace and were shot down the next day they were spotted. During a briefing between U.S. government officials, after the other balloons were found, the Defense Department officials said the last three spotted objects did not pose any kind of military threat. It was also said their path and proximity were sensitive to Defense Department sites. Another concern was the altitude at which they were flying which was said to be a possible hazard to civilian aviation.

The search for other undefined flying objects continues from the U.S., China continues to deny allegations for these balloons are any object of violence or anything to cause a higher risk of tension between the already paranoid countries. The county is adamant to insist these flying objects are civilian weather research balloons that were blown off course. While China denies allegations of these balloons being harmful, the question of whether the US has also been doing the same to spy is also being denied. The U.S. has sent spy balloons before, they are repeatedly denying that they are sending the same right now as well. 

The distaste for China has been growing in America for the past few years but these balloons are creating new tensions. In 2022, the percentage of Americans with an unfavorable view of China has grown 47% since 2017 said to Pew Research Center and that’s before these events with the balloons. Many different variables have contributed to the drastic rise of this percentage rising in the U.S. but one of those is since both Donald Trump and President Biden took a more aggressive tone with China than in past administrations, the relationship between the US and China had deteriorated in recent years.

Officials from both countries were beginning to try to mend ties but this balloon event, that changes things. The U.S. is making it clear over these recent events that it will not let it go and with these recent events, tensions can escalate and the relationship can continue to strain. Tensions have already strained since the territorial claims and this situation is just continuing further. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken planned on meeting with China over these frayed relations but quickly canceled after the appearance of these balloons and political outrage in Washington. The idea at this could even quickly transform into deadly conflict is becoming more possible.

Although these balloons were found to just gather info and not be weapons, much has still not been revealed. Still, speculation about whether they are actually weapons and could be developed into something more has been talked about. The U.S. government has denied this allegation but people have made many posts about their worries on social media and the internet. There was talk of leading to another cold war but this time against the U.S. and China from these events over the internet. No country plans or wants to start a war currently but the news of these balloons has put people on edge. Currently, the U.S. is focusing on gathering more information about these balloons and continuing to shoot them down if more enter the airspace. 

There are also concerns about the risk of not doing enough over this situation and deescalating too far. Analysts and politicians have argued that the U.S. has done little to contain china in past years. In response to these balloons and allegations, the Biden administration might be trying to prove to China that the U.S. is taking a more forceful approach and won’t back down this time. Right now, very little is known about this whole situation. It is not exactly clear what these balloons exactly are and what they mean.