Balloon episode: Hotline for US-China talks kept ringing, nothing happened

However, Austin’s efforts were unsuccessful on Saturday, as Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe refused to communicate, the Pentagon said.

Within hours of an Air Force F-22 shooting down a large Chinese balloon that had entered US airspace, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attempted to communicate with his Chinese counterpart via a direct line. His intention was to present the side of him speaking so that the tension could be removed. However, Austin’s efforts were unsuccessful on Saturday, as Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe refused to communicate, the Pentagon said.

China’s Defense Ministry said it refused to speak to Austin by phone after the US destroyed the Chinese balloon because the US had failed to create a “proper atmosphere” for talks. In a statement issued late Thursday, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said the US move “seriously violated international norms and set a disastrous precedent.”

It’s been an experience that has frustrated American commanders for decades, especially when it comes to getting their Chinese counterparts on the phone or video line. Recently, the tension between the two countries has risen due to some serious issues. Lack of trust in the helpline, which was a reliable means of communication in times of crisis between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, now increases the danger in US-China relations. This is especially serious when China’s military capacity is increasing and its tension with the United States is also increasing.

The United States is concerned that misunderstandings, false reports or accidental skirmishes could escalate a minor confrontation into more hostility, given the lack of a mechanism for the two countries’ generals to negotiate quickly to settle things. Bonnie Glaser, director general of Indo-Pacific studies at the German Marshall Fund think tank, said this was not due to any technical deficiencies in the communication equipment. The problem stems from a fundamental disparity in how China and the US view the value and purpose of military hotlines.

“It’s really dangerous,” Defense Under Secretary Eli Ratner said when asked by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkle about China’s recent indifference to Beijing and Washington’s hotline deal. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the defense official said the US general is engaged in efforts to open more lines of communication with his Chinese counterparts. “And unfortunately, so far the PLA is not responding to the efforts in this context,” Ratner said, referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Ratner accused China of simply using important communication channels as a covert messaging mechanism, or of reopening or closing them to underline its displeasure or happiness. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning referred questions about Wei’s refusal to speak with Austin to the Defense Ministry. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said referring to the US downing of the balloon that the US action “seriously violated international norms and set a disastrous precedent.”

Tan said: “This irresponsible and completely wrong approach by the US did not create a proper environment for dialogue and exchange between the two militaries, and that is why China did not accept the US proposal for a phone call between the two defense ministers”. Beijing said the United States “overreacted” by destroying the balloon. He described the action as “irresponsible”. Meanwhile, senior US administration officials said Thursday that China’s balloon monitoring program has affected at least 40 countries, including the US, but declined to name the countries where they have been seen. balloons so far.

China has denied running any such programs, but the US said it was working to take action, including sanctions, against organizations and companies promoting such programs in China. “We detected this system early and took prudent measures, so we were able to reduce its intelligence-gathering potential,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference.

But it won’t be possible for all countries to do so, he said, and therefore the US will provide information to those countries that may be useful in protecting against such a program. She said that this program is distributed in 40 countries on five continents. The United States destroyed a large balloon in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday with the help of a fighter jet that had entered US airspace on January 30. The United States has shared this information with its Quad allies and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. Price said the United States is looking to form a formal coalition of countries targeted by such a program.

Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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