An Open Question.
The price of eggs.
1. Financial Times on the balloon(s) furor:
If the aircraft was a surveillance operation, it would raise serious concerns about decision-making at the top of China’s policy apparatus just as Xi prepares to begin his precedent-breaking third term as president. Backed by a new slate of loyalists, Xi’s elevation at the annual session of China’s rubber-stamp parliament next month will cement his status as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
The Biden administration said Chinese surveillance balloons had transited the US on only a handful of occasions over the past six years, suggesting that last week’s alleged spy mission was either approved by Xi despite the risks or was a relatively rare operation that he was unaware of, an unsettling prospect for both Washington and Beijing.
“An open question is whether Xi Jinping knew about the mission and approved it, and what the assumptions were about its potential impact on [US] relations,” said Drew Thompson at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
“We don’t know whether this demonstrates that the People’s Liberation Army is not co-ordinating politically sensitive missions with the party leadership, or whether the PLA is throwing a wrench into Xi Jinping’s effort to lower the temperature of the US-China relationship.” (Source: ft.com)