Second Chinese spy balloon pops up over Latin America: Everything you need to know
A second Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon has been spotted over Latin America, just a day after a similar craft was seen over the United States, prompting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a rare visit to Beijing.
So, how are these balloons going to affect the slowly simmering tensions between the two countries? Let’s find out.
The ‘Second’ Balloon
Compared to the second spy balloon, relatively more details are available for the first one, which was first spotted in Montana. The first balloon was heading eastwards over the central US, the Pentagon mentioned on Friday, adding it was not being shot down as the debris could pose a safety threat to a number of people on the ground.
The Explanation From China
After initial hesitation, China admitted ownership of the first balloon, saying it was for civilian meteorological and scientific purposes and that it veered off course due to wind.
On Saturday, Beijing accused US politicians and media of taking advantage of the situation to discredit China, ABC news reported.
President Joe Biden’s administration called the first craft a manoeuvrable “surveillance balloon”.
In a telephone call with senior Chinese official Wang Yi, Blinken – who has postponed a two-day visit to Beijing that was to have started on Sunday (local time) – called the presence of the balloon in US airspace “a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law.”
The surveillance balloons have also been said to carry little value, as Chinese satellites are also able to collect information.
Potential Impact On US-china Relations
A number of experts believe the surveillance balloons could increase tensions between the two countries. The trip to Beijing would have made Blinken the first top US diplomat to visit China since October 2018. Last month, he said he would use the trip to help prevent the relationship from escalating into all-out conflict. Meanwhile, Republican politicians are pressuring Biden to take a stronger stance on the Asian country.