The United States recovers debris from a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. They hope that the evaluation will provide information about his technical skills. In Germany, too, there is concern about the incident.
After the US military shot down a suspected spy balloon from China, the debris is being salvaged. The FBI federal police are involved in the evaluation, US media reported on Sunday (local time) in unison. According to the Pentagon, the debris lay about 11 kilometers off the coast of South Carolina in relatively shallow water. US fighter jets shot down the balloon over the Atlantic on Saturday after the flying object had flown over the United States for several days. The US accused China of spying on the balloon. Beijing protested the “overreaction” and rejected the allegations.
The USA hopes that the evaluation will provide information about the technical capabilities of the balloon. According to US President Joe Biden, he ordered the balloon to be shot down “as soon as possible” on Wednesday. However, a risk for the people on the ground should be ruled out, so it was decided to only take the flying object out of the sky over the sea.
Several US Republicans sharply criticized Biden’s actions. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina wrote on Twitter: “Now that this embarrassing episode is over, we need answers from the Biden administration about the decision-making process. Communist China was allowed to freely violate American sovereignty for days. We must be better prepared for future provocations and attacks by China.” The Senate is to be briefed in a secret session on February 15.
The incident also caused concern in Germany. “The federal government takes Chinese espionage and the current reports very seriously and coordinates with its most important partners,” said security circles at the request of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich said in the ARD program “Report from Berlin”: “That worries us a lot – including me personally, because I think we have to be careful that another major international conflict does not arise here.”
The SPD foreign policy expert Michael Roth rated the balloon and the heated debate about it in the USA as a “foretaste of the escalating conflict between China and the USA in the coming years”. The launch of the balloon was correct, said the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag of the editorial network Germany (RND). However, Biden was under massive pressure from the Republicans, who wanted to discredit him as weak in foreign policy. At the same time, China’s President Xi Jinping has been pursuing an expansive foreign policy for years, the SPD politician explained. “That makes managing relationships increasingly difficult.”
The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen expressed the expectation that the balloon dispute would only briefly affect the relationship between China and the USA. “In my view, it is a Chinese glitch that nevertheless required an American response,” Röttgen told RND. “However, I assume that neither side will let this deter them from their planned course for longer than necessary. And that consists in not being completely speechless in the pronounced power struggle on both sides.”