Beijing’s response to the American downing of its balloon has been muted. This may be China’s way of preparing for a future where the tables are turned, according to an international law expert.
China needs to think about what it will do if the United States sends balloons into Chinese airspace, a legal expert has said.
The United States shot down what it described as a Chinese “surveillance balloon” on Saturday.
If Beijing overemphasizes its response, its own rhetoric could backfire later, Julian Ku told the NYT.
As Beijing calculates its full response to its downing of its balloon off the southeast coast of the United States on Saturday, it must consider what it will do if the United States starts sending balloons to China, said an international law expert.
In a statement on Sunday, China condemned the Defense Ministry for destroying the balloon, saying the Pentagon had “clearly overreacted” and “seriously violated international practices”.
But the Foreign Office complaint did not accuse the United States of breaching international law, which it often says if he thinks he can litigate such a case, said Julian Ku, a law professor at Hofstra University which studies China’s role in international law. New York Times.
“Also, they need to think about their own rights in case the United States starts sending balloons or drones to China,” Ku told the outlet. “If they push too hard here, it would undermine a future legal argument they may need.”
It’s unclear how long China may choose to dwell on the ball incident.
Its official statement so far – less than 200 characters – has been low-key and unusually brief, compared to how the country has fought diplomatically with the United States in the recent past.
Beijing claims the unmanned balloon was a civilian airship that drifted over US soil by accident, and said it “forces the United States to handle this properly in a calm, professional and restrained manner”.
The closest thing to a threat was to say he “reserved the right to take any other necessary action”.
On the other hand, its previous reactions to perceived transgressions — such as during the August visit to Taiwan by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have been far more aggressive.
“Those who play with fire will perish,” China’s Foreign Ministry wrote Aug. 2 in response to news of Pelosi’s trip, warning the United States “not to go further down the wrong and dangerous path.” .
Beijing has also responded by conducting live-fire military drills around Taiwan, after saying it would “not sit idly by” if Pelosi landed in Taipei.
“We treat our enemies with fine wine, but for our enemies we have shotguns,” China’s ambassador to Sweden sadly said on the radio in 2019. He had broadcast his threats to local authorities when the Chinese-born Swedish political editor and dissident Michael Gui was awarded the Tucholsky Prize following his 2015 disappearance in Thailand.
Notably, China also now has a new foreign minister, Qin Gang, a former ambassador to the United States who in January replaced most of the ministry’s high-ranking spokespersons known for aggressive “wolf war diplomacy.” from Beijing.
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