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Aliens or espionage? The mysterious objects unravelling US-China relations

Officials have struggled to explain the four flying objects shot down over North America – but the incidents have created further tension between Washington and Beijing.

Over the past two weeks, a number of mysterious objects have been shot down from the skies over the US and Canada. It all began with a suspected Chinese spy balloon, which was brought down off the coast of South Carolina on 4 February. US officials have struggled to explain the three subsequent aerial encounters, leading to conspiracy theories and White House denials that aliens are involved. Meanwhile, the diplomatic rift between China and the US is widening.

Megan Gibson in London, Ido Vock in Berlin and Katie Stallard in Washington DC discuss the spy-balloon fiasco, aliens, and where US-China relations go from here.

Next, they turn to the ongoing crisis in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquake that struck the region on 6 February. As the death toll passes 40,000, the team discuss growing anger towards the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his government for delays in aid and alleged corruption.

Then, in You Ask Us, a listener asks whether Russia could break apart. 

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Read more:

Ido on why Russia isn’t about to break apart.

Ece Temelkuran writes that after the earthquake the rage in Turkey is greater than the pain.

Katie on how UFOs are pushing the US and China further apart.

Lyse Doucet on the anger and hope the earthquake left behind

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