Now the People’s Republic of China wants their spy balloon back. That’s the same spy balloon that floated across North America for several days peering down into sensitive military installations and gathering data for Beijing’s experts to pore over.
During a Tuesday press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning revealed that her government requested the return of the wreckage.
She declared, “The airship is not American property. It is Chinese property.”
Unquestionably it was, but that’s now in the past. The U.S. military undoubtedly will spend the foreseeable future examining the wreckage for insight on Chinese surveillance technology and exactly what secrets the unabated flyover was able to glean.
A top Chinese diplomat said the US should return debris from the balloon it shot down because it’s the Asian nation’s property https://t.co/l7cZKJegHl
— Bloomberg (@business) February 8, 2023
Beijing continues to insist that the craft, which was shot down off the Atlantic coast of South Carolina on Saturday, was civilian in nature. Mao reported that it made an “unintended entry into U.S. airspace,” calling it “entirely unexpected.”
She described the U.S. allowing the spy balloon to cross the continent unopposed before finally shooting it down in the coastal waters “a clear overreaction.” That is a sentiment that most Americans heartily disagree with.
And while she answered a few questions about the incident, she refused to address the purpose of the balloon and mentions of similar aircraft in North and South American airspace.
Another call for the U.S. to return the debris came Monday from a high-ranking Chinese diplomat. The nation’s ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, told French channel LCI “if a person picks up something on the street and knows who the owner is, he should return it to the owner.”
Lu criticized the American response as “exaggerating” the incident. He further parroted Beijing’s claim that the craft was conducting civilian meteorological research and not surveilling military installations.
He added that Washington’s apparent intention to hold onto the debris revealed the U.S. is “dishonest” in its dealings with its global rival.
Despite the ridiculous claims emanating from China, the U.S. is hardly under any obligation to return military equipment that breached its airspace to a hostile nation. Rather, it can and will take the opportunity to study the wreckage for its important implications concerning national security.