Diplomatic Tensions as U.S. shoots down alleged Chinese “surveillance” balloon

Diplomatic Tensions as U.S. shoots down alleged Chinese surveillance balloon

Lily Brown, Staff Writer

On February 2nd, the pentagon noticed a massive white balloon with surveillance video in the United States. The balloon was spotted in the north-western area of the US, like Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon. According to the New York Times, President Biden requested that the pentagon should not shoot down this surveillance balloon. Initially, it was believed that for the safety of Americans, the balloon should not be shot down as debris can fall and injure people. However, as of yesterday it was allegedly shot down as it neared the ocean in North Carolina.

This balloon was spotted only days before the Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinkin was supposed to visit Beijing for business involving the relationship between the US and Beijing. Because of this, the balloon is causing more tension between both parties and the status of the meeting is being discussed. Although China seeks to further its geopolitical legitimacy, it’s clear that this was a strain on international diplomatic ties with China.

This type of surveillance is worrisome, with larger indicators about data surveillance. However, in response to the shooting down of this balloon, Chinese officials called the move a “massive overreaction”and an “attack” on surveillance. The larger question remains: where is the line drawn? How else should we have reacted to other countries’ surveillance within our own airspace? If tensions continue to worsen, how will this affect international policy?


As two weeks have passed, there have been updates distributed by different websites including CNN, The New York Times, and Biden’s administration. People are saying Biden made the decision to shoot down the balloon after long debates on whether the debris from the balloon could possibly injure civilians, was necessary. To a regular person like me just staying in tune to news updates, I thought the government’s reluctance to publish updates was unusual as there was a surveillance device gathering data on our country. However, the Biden administration cleared the air as they said an invading surveillance device is not abnormal for the US, so taking their time to get rid of the balloon would be the most efficient.

However following this situation, Biden has noted that his relationship with China has majorly negatively shifted. The last meeting he had with the Chinese President was in November, but the question of the time of their next meeting is unpredictable. Especially now, after their surveillance scheme was deemed as unsuccessful.

This is a developing story.