A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said a surveillance balloon suspected to have been spotted over Latin America accidentally entered the region’s airspace for “civilian use”.
after the balloon was found American fighter jet shot down A spy device initially suspected to be Chinese was found off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a regular press conference on Monday that the U.S. should handle the espionage incident calmly and properly without using force.
Beijing also urged Washington don’t escalate the problem or take further action to the detriment of its interests.
Referring to the initial suspected Chinese spy balloon seen over the US last week, Ms Ning said on Monday that a “civilian airship” had drifted into US skies in an “isolated and unexpected incident caused by force majeure”.
She said: “China is a responsible country, and we have always strictly abided by international law and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries.
“History has proved that it is the United States that often violates international law and violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries.
“We have stated that this is an isolated and accidental event caused by force majeure, but the US still deliberately hypes up and even uses force to launch an attack. This is an unacceptable and irresponsible behavior.”
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Ms Ning said on Monday that shooting down the balloon was a “clear overreaction”.
Meanwhile, the Colombian military said on Sunday it had spotted an aerial object resembling a balloon.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ride confirmed over the weekend that a second balloon from China was being tracked.
“We’ve seen reports of balloons flying over Latin America. We’re now assessing that it’s another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he said.
Ms Ning said on Monday that the balloon was used for civilian purposes and its ability to control itself was limited.
She said: “With regard to the balloons over Latin America, we have learned and verified that the relevant unmanned airships come from China and are for civilian use and used for flight tests.”
“Affected by the weather and due to limited self-control capabilities, the airship seriously deviated from the planned route and strayed into the waters of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
The balloon incident further heightened tensions, prompting Washington to cancel a planned visit to China by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The U.S. Navy is working to recover the balloon and its payload, and the Coast Guard is providing security for the operation, General Glenn Van Heek, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, said Sunday.
A successful recovery could give the U.S. insight into China’s espionage capabilities, although the U.S.
Officials downplayed the balloon’s impact on national security.
The U.S. and China have previously sought to improve communication and begin repairing relations that have been strained by tensions on multiple fronts in recent years, including U.S. efforts to block China’s access to key cutting-edge technologies.