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What China's spy balloon reveals about Chinese and U.S. espionage and diplomacy

Biden on Saturday congratulated fighter pilots for taking down a Chinese balloon off the east coast after it spent several days flying over the US. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Biden on Saturday congratulated fighter pilots for taking down a Chinese balloon off the east coast after it spent several days flying over the US. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Suddenly, the military is shooting down more foreign objects out of U.S. airspace.

But the one that matters the most for now is the first and biggest: China’s spy balloon.

“This is a real breach of the rules. Yes, we all spy on each other. But there are rules of engagement in international politics that in the realm of competition, keeps us all safe,” Oriana Skylar Mastro says.

These are things that are unacceptable.”

China’s spy balloon gives us a rare glimpse into spycraft between the U.S. and China. What have we learned?

Today, On Point: The U.S., China, and eyes in the sky.

Guests

Oriana Skylar Mastro, fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Non-resident senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute. Author of The Costs of Conversation: Obstacle to Peace Talks in Wartime. (@osmastro)

Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego and author of the new book, Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise. (@SusanShirk1)

Also Featured

Jamey Jacob, director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State.

Tong Zhao, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beijing. (@zhaot2005)

Related Reading

APLN: “The Perception Gap and the China-US Relationship” — “In this paper, Dr. Tong Zhao, visiting scholar at Princeton University, and Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, assesses the dangerous and growing perception gap between the United States and China and argues that it is significant enough to cause more consequential outcomes than the Ukraine war.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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