Give it baaaack!!!
Give It Back
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the supposed Chinese meteorological balloon that veered way off-course last week, an event that strained an already frosty US-China relationship.
The massive weather balloon, which had a large solar panel-powered structure hanging from it, was shot down by a US missile fired by an F-22 Raptor over the weekend — and now China wants the wreckage back, please.
"If you pick up something on the street, you should return it to the owner, if you know who the owner is," Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, told French news channel LCI this week, as quoted by Bloomberg.
His comments mark the first time Chinese officials have asked for the balloon's corpse back. During a follow-up press briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning reiterated that "the airship does not belong to the US. It belongs to China."
Lu went as far as to use the opportunity to take a swipe at the US.
"If the Americans don’t want to return it, that’s their decision," Lu said during the interview. "This demonstrates their dishonesty."
Little love was lost. After the US shot down the balloon, China declined requests for a secure call between the two country's military officials, NBC reports, aimed to ratchet down tensions.
In short, it's a gigantic blame game between the two biggest superpowers in the world — over a high-altitude spy balloon.
It's also far from the first time either country has mistakenly lost track of spy equipment in the other's territory.
As Bloomberg points out, the US isn't entirely innocent, either. In 2001, Pentagon officials asked China to return its spy plane after it collided with a Chinese fighter jet.
At the time, China answered with a $1 million bill to cover the costs of housing the crew and returning the plane.
READ MORE: China Says US Should Return Debris From Balloon It Shot Down [Bloomberg]