A spy balloon signaled China’s displeasure on three issues: Stavridis

Admiral James Stavridis said China may have sent a suspected spy balloon to the United States to signal its dissatisfaction with three issues related to US policy in the Indo-Pacific region.

The balloon was first spotted over Billings, Montana last Wednesday, raising national security concerns because it violated both international law and U.S. airspace. It floated across the United States in the following days before being shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday.

The situation has further strained relations between the United States and China, which have squabbled over Taiwan’s right to autonomy as well as the Russian-Ukrainian war in recent months.

Following the discovery of the balloon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a planned trip to Beijing, which was meant to ease tensions. China, meanwhile, condemned the United States for shooting down the balloon, arguing it was simply a weather balloon that veered off course.

Above is a photograph of Admiral James Stavridis speaking at a Senate hearing on March 26, 2015, next to an inset of an Israeli-made aerostat balloon, which resembles the alleged Chinese spy balloon that floated across the United States last week. Stavridis on Monday named three issues China has with US policy in the Indo-Pacific region that could have compelled them to escalate tensions by sending the ball.
Kris Connor/Getty Images; SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

During a Monday appearance on NBC News, Stavridis explained why China was willing to risk heightened tensions with the United States to send the ball.

“I think what we’ve seen is a pretty direct signal of dissatisfaction to the United States, about actually a couple of things,” he said.

Here’s a look at the three issues that Stavridis says could have caused China to escalate tensions with the United States last week.

U.S. Basic Agreement with the Philippines

First, Stavridis suggested the ball could have signaled frustration with a new deal between the United States and the Philippines. Following earlier speculation, the two countries announced last week that Washington would have access to bases on the East Asian country’s islands, thwarting China’s influence in the region.

China condemned the deal, writing that it would “aggravate regional tensions and undermine regional peace and stability.”

“It is hoped that the Philippine side will remain vigilant and resist being exploited and dragged into troubled waters,” the Chinese government wrote in a statement.

Stavridis said China may be particularly enraged by the deal allowing the United States access to bases on the northern island of Luzon, home to the Philippines’ capital and largest city, Manila.

New American base in Guam

He also pointed to the construction of a new Marine Corps base on US territory of Guam as a potential point of contention between the two nations. Camp Blaz is the first new base in 70 years and, according to CNN, could house up to 5,000 Marines.

Experts say the base – which officially opened last month, just days before the balloon was spotted over Montana – aims to deter Chinese threats.

Kevin McCarthy’s possible visit to Taiwan

Finally, Stavridis said the balloon could have been a signal against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s potential trip to Taiwan.

Punchbowl News reported earlier in February that the Pentagon was beginning preparations for a possible trip by the new house leader, drawing criticism from China.

China sees Taiwan as part of itself, while Taiwan sees itself as independent. Although the United States does not officially recognize Taiwan’s independence, it has stated that it will support Taiwan if China takes military action against it.

“China opposes any form of official interaction between its region of Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China. We hope US lawmakers will uphold the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques and refrain from doing things harmful to China and the US. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said last week.

Newsweek contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry for comment.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button