China tests US patience, floats spy balloon; Blinken visit in jeopardy  

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3: The Chinese spy balloon sent the US in a tizzy on Friday. The Pentagon officially stated that the balloon is a military risk. The US also stated that the balloon is being monitored, and China has been told that the airspace of the country along with the international laws have been violated.

The dragon spy over the US sky has now put the planned visit of the Secretary of the State Anthony Blinken to Beijing in the next few days. US Congress Speaker Kevin McCarthy has called for intelligence briefing over the Chinese spy balloon flying over the airspace of the country.

“The balloon has been in the US airspace for a few days. It’s a military and civilian risk. The balloon is being monitored. All options, including shooting the balloon down, are being weighed in,” the Pentagon said in an official briefing to the reporters. It also stated that the Pentagon is continuously tracking, while refusing to divulge details of the capabilities of the balloon. But the Pentagon stated that the balloon has payloads, and is currently moving eastward. It’s a surveillance balloon, said the Pentagon, adding that there is a basket underneath the floating spy piece.

McCarthy, meanwhile, has called for briefing the “Gang of Eight”, which is tasked to review the most critical intelligence in the US, consisting of the Congress lawmakers. McCarthy on the lines of his predecessor Nancy Pelosi is known to have hard stand on China. Within the US, the growing voice is calling upon Blinken to cancel his Beijing visit, which was agreed upon after over two-hour summit between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

China had been preparing to warm up to the US to save its economy and apply brakes on the accelerated pace of the decoupling bid of the western nations with Beijing on global supply chains. Xi changed his foreign minister and the US-baiter spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs to unveil soft approach to Washington after the hard talks by Biden in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

But by flying the spy balloon, which China calls a weather assessment tool, Beijing is testing the limits of the patience of the US. The Pentagon admitted that there had been previous instances also of similar surveillance balloons entering the US airspace.

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