70th anniversary of Hanoi's Liberation Day Vietnam - Asia 2023 Smart City Summit Hanoi celebrates 15 years of administrative boundary adjustment 12th Vietnam-France decentrialized cooperation conference 31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Home / AMBASSADORS' COMMENTS
US-China relations after the balloon incident
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau 11:06, 2023/02/10
For the relations between these two countries, it was an incident as good as unprecedented.

For the US, it was right from the beginning that a Chinese spy balloon sailed across its airspace before being shut down near the coast of South Carolina. For China, it was simply only a "civilian airship" conducting climate research which was blown off course.

 Chinese spy balloon entering US airspace. Photo: AP

For the relations between these two countries, it was an incident as good as unprecedented. It occurred just at the time when they have been being already strained by mutual mistrust and tit-for-tat retaliations. It happened just a few days before the visit to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the first of a US Secretary of State to China in almost 5 years. Mr. Blinken was set to meet top members of the Chinese leadership, including China's president Xi Jinping. This visit was immediately postponed. Both sides made strong accusations against each other and the Chinese side stated that it will properly retaliate against the US. All that portrayed impressions that the relations between the US and China had just been hit by this incident.

Theoretically, they could be so but in the reality, they won't be so. The postponement of Blinken's China visit didn't automatically mean a fateful setback for the US-China relationship. All statements, announcements, or explanations made by the US and the Chinese sides relating to this incident were mostly for domestic audiences. Even the US which is in a legally a little bit stronger position than China didn't want to make a mountain out of a molehill. US president Joe Biden didn't mention this incident in his State of the Union Address on February 8, just a few days after the incident. Later on, he expressed his belief during a press interview that the US-China relations have not been damaged by the Chinese balloon incident. Or in other words, both the US and China handled the incident like having made a storm in a teacup.

But it might be very meaningful and useful for both. It could be seen as a test for how they would deal with and manage crises. This incident showed that both sides were not properly prepared to manage the crisis. It was a test for how they trust or mistrust each other and showed that their mutual distrust overweights their mutual trust. The balloon incident did not destroy US-China relations but bought the last evidence for the knowledge that now is not the right time for any significant improvements in the relations between the US and China.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Hanoi Times.

TAG: us china balloon incident
Other news
16:57, 2024/06/02
Historic precedence but not game-changer
It is in no way a game-changer in the ultimate showdown between Trump and Biden.
14:27, 2024/05/30
Resetting high-level dialogue framework
The first summit between South Korea, China, and Japan in more than four years was in fact the new reset of this trilateral highest-level dialogue forum and a new restart of this tripartite relationship.
11:02, 2024/05/21
New strategies needed to attract and retain talents
New strategies to attract and retain talented human resources are required to compete more effectively.
20:19, 2024/05/18
Satisfaction for two, disappointment for many others
Russia and China are very imaginative and creative in finding words to describe and characterize their bilateral relationship.
21:50, 2024/05/12
Vladimir Putin's most challenging and difficult reigning term
The next 6 years of his new presidency will be the most challenging period for him and the most fateful one for Russia's future.
20:33, 2024/05/05
Traveling far, wanting much
China needs EU and European partners for its economic development and ambitions in world politics and to deal successfully with the US.