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U.S. State Department Organizing a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ Against China over Balloons

Feb. 7, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—State Department press spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday that it is way too soon to talk about when Secretary of State Blinken’s dialogue with China will be taken up again, because the U.S. is busy “consulting with a broad array of like-minded countries” on joint steps to take against this latest “challenge” from China: “high-altitude surveillance balloons,” he alleged, are floating “across five continents.”

Reminiscent of the language used in building the coalition against Russia in the run-up to Feb. 24, 2022, Price spoke about “working in lockstep” with U.S. allies against China. “Other regions of the world have also been subjected to these brazen violations of sovereignty as well. We think it’s important in the first instance that we share as much as we can, because these are challenges that many of us have and will continue to have to confront together,” he said. The “like-minded countries around the world” need to “do what we can to see to it that, as an international community, we’re speaking very clearly to the PRC to underscore that it’s irresponsible, it’s inappropriate, and at the end of the day it is unacceptable.”

Indeed, the catchword of the day was that China is the one taking “reckless, irresponsible, inappropriate action,” not the U.S. using F-22 fighter jets to shoot down a balloon,

Price solemnly repeated the litany about how the U.S. “has been very clear that we seek lines of communication and lines of dialogue to remain open” with China, while reporting that the U.S. had not provided China any advance warning that the U.S. was going to shoot down the balloon, but notified them “after the fact.” So much for “lines of communication.”

Question: Where does this leave the U.S.-China relationship?

Answer: “We’ve always been clear-eyed about this relationship. We know it’s the most consequential, we know it’s the most complex relationship we have in all of our bilateral relationships. We suspect it’s also the most consequential and complex bilateral relationship on the face of the Earth,” blah, blah, blah.

But, as he repeated over and over,

“now we are focused on coordinating closely with our allies and partners, sharing information, comparing notes, making sure that they understand the information that we have in our possession, they understand the basis for our actions, and that they understand the brazen nature of this violation of our sovereignty, violations of sovereignty that are not unique to us, that have taken place across countries and across regions around the globe. So that’s going to continue to be our focus in the coming days.”

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