- Balloon from China casts long shadow
- Outrage and jokes on social media
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- Foxconn posts record sales
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- Heads: sinology pioneer Weigelin-Schwiedrzik
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The German song “99 Luftballons,” which was an international hit at the height of the Cold War, is also known in China. In the song, flying balloons spark a global war that leaves the world in ruins. The flying object shot down on Saturday, which Beijing claims was merely a stray weather balloon, has also already developed geopolitical explosive power. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken unceremoniously called off his trip to China, which was actually supposed to signal easing tensions between the superpowers.
Beijing is snubbed and accuses Washington of saber-rattling. But what are the real implications of the incident surrounding the alleged spy balloon? Is there just the proverbial hot air after all? Or has it sparked a further escalation in the already tense relations between the US and China, similar to the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999? Finn Mayer-Kuckuk analyzes the incident and answers the most pressing questions.
The astray balloon is also the focus of much attention in China’s online community. Many ironically compare the white flying object with the Earth that was catapulted out of orbit in the blockbuster “The Wandering Earth 2,” which is currently turning out to be one of the most successful movies of all time in China. Others accuse the United States of harassment in a deliberate attempt to damage relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, the state media are still holding back. Perhaps Beijing senses that it would have to present its own population with far quicker and harsher measures should a US balloon ever enter Chinese territory. Keeping quiet seems to be the order of the day at the moment. Propaganda can always blow the incident up later.
China’s downed balloon leaves a lot of hot air
The US Air Force may have shot down the Chinese observation balloon that has preoccupied the public in recent days. But the incident will define the relationship between the two superpowers for the foreseeable future. The fact that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has canceled a planned visit to China for the time being does not bode well for the development of dialogue between the two states in the short term.
After all, personal exchanges had only just resumed after the Covid reopening. For now, both sides are exchanging blows, each accusing the other of lying. However, there is also agreement on some points:
- The balloon came from China,
- it drifted some 9,000 kilometers in high-altitude winds to above US territory, and
- it carried sensors and measuring instruments.
But opinions differ on the balloon’s mission.
- Antony Blinken
- Joe Biden
- KP China
- weather balloon
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