Foreign PolicyInternational RelationsInternational Peace

Downed Chinese Spy Balloon Raises Tensions with U.S.

Posted on in Foreign Policy · International Relations · International Peace

On Saturday, February 4 the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. The surveillance balloon, which was around 200 feet tall and the size of a passenger jet, was first spotted near the U.S. Aleutian Islands before making its way across Canada and the U.S. China claims the aircraft was a weather balloon that simply got blown off course and the U.S. overreacted. U.S. officials insist that the balloon had steering capabilities and spying equipment and hope to study the debris. While at the same time the head of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command said the balloon did not pose a physical military threat.

What was shot down?

Instructors: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download: CQP_Lecture_Spark_PPT_Downed Chinese Spy Balloon Raises Tensions with U.S.


News Articles

War of words over downed Chinese spy balloon continues as US recovers debris


February 6, 2023

US recovering balloon debris with no plans to return it to China


February 7, 2023

Top general says Trump-era spy balloons flew over the U.S. undetected

February 6, 2023

US says it does not plan to return spy balloon debris to China


February 6, 2023

Balloon saga deflates efforts to mend US-China relations


February 6, 2023

Tensions over Chinese balloon demand wise heads and communication


February 7, 2023

Here is where US is taking remains of China spy flight


February 6, 2023

Pentagon says it had an ‘awareness gap’ that led to failure to detect 3 Chinese balloons under Trump


February 6, 2023


Writing: Why is there conflict between China and the U.S?

Debate: What is the best way to resolve points of contention between China and the U.S.?

Poll: Do you support the U.S. shooting down the Chinese spy balloon?

Short Answer: What are the ramifications of escalated tensions between China and the U.S?

News Quiz


US-China relations are at the lowest point since the two countries established diplomatic ties. (T/F)

The Chinese spy balloon was 100 feet tall. (T/F)

A second Chinese spy balloon veered off course and is now over Latin America. (T/F)

Multiple Choice

Which U.S. political party has criticized President Biden for taking too long to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon and is pressuring the administration to take a tough stand towards China?

  1. Republican
  2. Democrat
  3. Green
  4. Libertarian

China claims the balloon shot down by the U.S. was intended for what purpose?

  1. Military invasion
  2. Weather
  3. Surveillance
  4. Tourism

All the following are points of contention between China and the U.S. EXCEPT.

  1. Trade
  2. Taiwan
  3. Terrorism
  4. Human rights


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