The Chinese balloon has now been shot down over the sea, even after Trump loudly called for it to be shot down. Republicans criticized Biden for the balloon, but now it’s been revealed that three such balloons crossed the US during Trump’s presidency and his administration didn’t tell the public about it at all. It is interesting to note that this balloon incident occurred just prior to Blinken’s visit to China. The Chinese officially wanted this meeting and also praised the so-called „Spirit of Bali“, i.e. the Biden-Xi meeting. Maybe some people, maybe Austin or the Pentagon, want to boycott any possible rapprochement or talks. However, it is also interesting to note that the US Senate approved $22 million for UFO research last week and the Pentagon installed a UFO Task Force. Not that one should now believe in conspiracy theories about aliens or Obama reptoids, Mars Attack X Files or Independence Day, but there were 144 unidentified flying objects in US airspace reported by the Airforce and the CIA, which was also the subject were on the agenda of an official congressional hearing. One no longer seems to ignore such pilot reports in silence, not because one now sees ET coming, fears a War of the Worlds ala H. G. Wells or little green men, but rather undiscovered Russian or Chinese high-technology flying objects, missiles or drones, so more fear the little yellow men, which from now on should be identified: Identified Flying Objects (IFOs) instead of UFOs. The Chinese balloon is now perceived as unacceptable and viewed as a potential threat to national security.
„New task force founded: Pentagon goes on UFO search
Unknown flying objects, mysterious sightings, inexplicable phenomena. Abnormal encounters have been occurring around the world for years – but are these encounters also extraterrestrial? Among other things, a new working group is now to pursue this question to investigate UFO sightings.
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon announced on Tuesday evening (local time) the establishment of the synchronization group for identification and handling of flying objects – AOIMSG for short. The panel is intended to pool efforts within the Department of Defense and other departments and government agencies to „locate, identify and classify“ unknown flying objects, the Pentagon said. In addition, potential “risks to flight safety and national security” should be assessed and addressed.
The working group replaces a task force based at the US Navy, which had previously dealt with the sighting of unknown flying objects. The new body is based at the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. But while it seems as if the US authorities are opening up to the theory that they are not alone in the universe, behind it there is less the belief that green Martians will be encountered behind unknown flying objects – in Pentagon jargon unidentified airspace phenomena (UAP) but sheer calculation. Rather, they are addressing the question of whether the United States may be dealing with new armaments technology from rivals such as Russia and China.
Just last June, the US intelligence services released a much-anticipated report on UFO sightings by the military — leaving many questions unanswered. Accordingly, with only one exception, there was no explanation for any of the sighted unknown flying objects. There were no indications of possible extraterrestrial life in the report: the nine-page report left the topic out. In the final paper, 144 reports from the military about sightings between the years 2004 and 2021 were evaluated. According to the report, one flying object was probably a large, deflated balloon. „The others (objects) remain unexplained,“ the report said. Earlier this year, videos released by the Pentagon of three flying objects classified as „unidentified“ fueled speculation that US intelligence agencies may have information about intelligent extraterrestrial life.
China condemns the attack on its balloon and threatens „consequences“. The KP newspaper Global Times commented today:
“China expresses dissatisfaction and protest over US shooting down civilian airship; US sets bad precedent
Published: Feb 05, 2023 08:22 PM
China expressed strong dissatisfaction and protest on Sunday against the US‘ move to shoot down a non-threatening Chinese airship for civilian use, calling the US‘ move an overreaction and vowing to reserve the right to take necessary actions. By turning an unintentional accident into an incident that has been hyped by the US officials and media, Washington is adding new uncertainties into the already-intense relations with China, creating a bad precedent for blurring the line between civilian and military uses, experts said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed strong dissatisfaction and protested against the US‘ use of force to shoot down a Chinese civilian unmanned airship, urging the US to properly handle the incident.
The Chinese side has verified the situation and communicated with the US side multiple times, saying the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace was due to force majeure and the incident was totally an accident, the ministry said.
The US military on Saturday local time shot down a „suspected Chinese spy balloon“ off the Carolina coast following an authorization of the Biden administration after the airship has been flying over the US for days. The action was hailed by the US President Joe Biden as „a success,“ according to US media reports.
The „balloon episode“ went viral on the US social media. A number of US hawks on China-related matters have been hyping the use of balloon for spying purpose and deliberately distorted it as „a direct assault on the US national sovereignty.“
„The US attack on Chinese civilian unmanned airship by force is an obvious overreaction,“ Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson at China’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement on Sunday.
China will reserve the right to take necessary measures in dealing with similar situations, Tan said.
Tan’s remarks mean that if a foreign airship accidentally enters the Chinese airspace, the Chinese forces could also shoot it down in a similar manner, observers said.
Biden was first briefed on the balloon Tuesday and has been receiving updates from his national security team, CNN said. The Pentagon earlier said on Friday that the balloon did not pose a „military or physical“ threat.
Despite China’s multiple communication with the US, the US government decided to shoot down a non-threatening airship that accidentally entered its airspace, turning an accident into an incident, which also added new uncertainties into already strained US-China relations, some Chinese experts said. From the military perspective, the latest action of the US is like „shooting a mosquito with cannon,“ experts said.
Although the US knows that this airship is harmless, it insisted on shooting it down to maintain its dominant position and it’s also believed that the US is very interested in our related technology so that it needs to obtain it in such improper way, Lü Xiang, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
„In fact, such high-altitude balloon is equipped with cutting-edge technologies in terms of material, which the US side may have yet had. Shooting it down caused the loss for the Chinese side and the relevant technology research firm has the right to file claims against the US,“ Lü said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the balloon is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.
However, some US politicians and media have been hyping the so-called threat of this civilian airship, for example, Republican senator Tom Cotton and Texas governor Greg Abbott have been urging the Biden administration to bring it down, otherwise, it’s dereliction of duty.
„From the US government to public opinion, the balloon incident has been exploited to instigate fermenting anti-China sentiment, which will only make the US‘ China policy more aggressive,“ Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The US ignoring the communication with the Chinese side further shows that the US lacks sincerity. Although it has been talking about setting the guardrails for the US-China relations, it has been blatantly sabotaging these guardrails, Li said.
Overreaction, bad precedent
The US shooting down the Chinese civilian balloon is also considered an overreaction from a technical point of view, said military aviation experts.
Despite admitting that the balloon did not pose a military or physical threat, an F-22 fighter of the US Air Force fired an AIM-9X air-to-air missile and shot down the balloon, supported by F-15 fighters, tankers and warships, the Pentagon said on the day on its website.
The missile was fired from the F-22 from an altitude of 58,000 feet (17,678 meters) when the balloon was 60,000 and 65,000 feet, the Pentagon said.
This is like shooting a mosquito with a cannon, which is not only overreacting but also impractical, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.
Compared with an unmanned balloon that flies with the wind, the US interception method that featured an advanced stealth fighter jet and fired a missile is too costly. If more balloons, not necessarily from China, fly across the US, the US Air Force would be exhausted and may even be bankrupted in intercepting them in this way, the expert said.
It is more of a political show, as the balloon was only shot down after it already travelled across the US and was about to leave, experts said.
Some experts also believe that shooting down a harmless airship is like „shooting down an unarmed civilian,“ creating a bad precedent for interaction between China and the US.
It’s widely known that US aircraft, appearing in civilian or military purposes, operate around China much more frequent than Chinese aircraft do around the US, Lü noted.
„If the US does not differentiate between civilian and military aircraft, then it has made a very bad precedent in treating the China-US relations,“ he said.
The US frequently conducts close-in reconnaissance on China’s doorsteps in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and the East China Sea, sometimes in civilian disguises, according to a think tank and media reports.
„If the US does not make the difference, should China make a difference? Should China also take reciprocal measures? The US must carefully consider the consequences,“ Lü said.
These are already linguistic creations: Instead of spy balloons or weather balloons:
„Non-threatening aircraft for civilian use“
„Civilian airship“ – almost as if the USA had shot down a civilian plane like it did over Iran or the pro-Russian speratists in Ukraine
„turning an unintentional incident into an accident“
If the US no longer makes distinctions, then China should do the same. The US would have set a precedent. Just as this “accident” stirred Chinese anger as the „unexpected death of a panda in a US zoo” stirrs emotions. A Chinese research team wants to investigate the death, which is not believed to have been caused by natural causes, as there were no organic diseases, the panda was in moderate health and usually lived longer in captivity. Do the Chinese believe in panda murder or poisoning instead of cardiac death?
“Chinese experts to investigate panda’s unexpected death at US zoo
By Du Qiongfang Published: Feb 05, 2023 10:54 PM
The Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) extended deep sorrow and regret for the passing of the 25-year-old male giant panda Le Le at the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee, the US on Wednesday, noting that an expert team will be sent to the US to investigate the cause of the panda’s death.
Giant panda Le Le Photo: Xinhua
The related Chinese department is very concerned about the sudden death of the giant panda and has informed the US side to preserve its body properly. A team of Chinese experts will be set up in a timely manner to go to the US zoo to investigate the panda’s death together with their US counterparts, the association said in a statement released last Thursday.
The Chinese Embassy in the US said it will assist relevant parties in handling the aftermath.
The panda died peacefully early last Wednesday in his sleep at the US facility and the cause of death was not yet known due to uncompleted post-mortem examinations, said Memphis Zoo chief executive officer Matt Thompson at a news conference on Friday local time.
Thompson described Le Le’s death as „sudden and unexpected“ and said that video footage from the days leading up to his death showed no indication that he was sick.
The death comes months before Le Le and female panda, Ya Ya, are set to be returned to China as the Memphis Zoo’s giant panda loan agreement with the CAZG will come to an end in April. The CAZG was the first to be informed of Le Le’s death, Thompson noted, adding that the Memphis Zoo hopes to receive a younger pair of pandas.
The CAZG and the Memphis Zoo launched the giant panda conservation and research project in 2003, with an agreement duration of 10 years, which was extended by 10 more years in 2013. The pair of pandas arrived at the zoo in April 2003.
In January this year, the two sides discussed the early return of the two pandas to China due to their rising ages and Ya Ya’s skin disease, which made her unsuitable to be exhibited any longer.
Although the panda is now elderly, it is still very probable for pandas in captivity to live longer and more healthily, Zhao Songsheng, manager of YueWeiLai, a Chengdu-based NGO dedicated to protecting giant pandas, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Zhao suggested a thorough investigation be conducted into the unexpected death of the panda to prevent the politicization of the event due to changes in China-US relations.
According to Zhao, the two pandas had been previously exposed by netizens as being improperly fed at the zoo, with stale and insufficient bamboo. The extremely emaciated images of this pair of pandas, which were circulated on the internet over the past few years, also indicated something went wrong.
However, the CAZG responded this January to public concerns over panda Ya Ya’s physical condition after it organized multiple health assessments of the panda.
A comprehensive judgment made by experts from several Chinese panda protection and research institutions and zoos from both China and the US based on videos, monthly health reports, annual physical examinations and other information showed that Ya Ya had no organic disease and was in medium health. The experts also decided the panda at the zoo had received good care and there was no sign of mistreatment.
The Chinese Embassy in the US inspected the zoo and confirmed the attentive care the pandas received at the zoo.
Many US residents expressed deep sadness toward the death of the giant panda after the zoo mourned its death on social media.
„My daughter was born just a year before Le Le. We live near Memphis and have always taken our kids to see the pandas their whole childhoods. This is so heartbreaking. Rest in peace, sweet Le Le. Thank you for bringing our family joy with all visits to Memphis,“ a US netizen said.
Another netizen said that the death of Le Le broke her heart since watching Le Le and Ya Ya on the panda cam had been one of her daily doses of joy.
According to Zhao, biodiversity conservation has become a global consensus and the protection of the flagship species of giant pandas for biodiversity conservation is also meant to protect the thousands of species of plants and animals in pandas‘ habitat”
However, China warns against „politicizing“ the death of the panda. What is expected? Let’s see whether interested political forces are still generating propaganda and conspiracy theories on both sides. Maybe he died from the China virus. Or just a US virus from Fort Detrick or a poison murder. Let’s wait and see whether animal protection groups like Peta will also be involved. Then it maybe could become an animal protection case and the US zoo becomes a kind of Uyghur concentration camp and genocide of a species that is dying out, a speciocide or something like that. Or the end of panda diplomacy. In any case, the Global Times tries to put a positive spin on the whole thing by citing US netizens who express their deepest sympathy and empathy for the deceased Chinese national animal and calling for the incident to be dealt with as a chance for international cooperation on biodiversity , perhaps also in the sense of the „Spirit of Bali“. In this case, love of animals as a unifying bond of friendship between peoples.