China Turns Tables With Claims of U.S. Balloons

Excessive-altitude balloons from the U.S. have overflown China’s airspace “greater than 10 instances” previously yr, a Chinese language official stated on Monday.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese language International Ministry, stated the U.S. balloons “illegally overflew Chinese language airspace” with out the approval of related authorities departments, with out elaborating. U.S. dirigibles working within the airspace of different nations was a “widespread prevalence,” he stated.

Wang’s feedback got here 9 days after the U.S. army shot down what it decided to be a Chinese language surveillance balloon that had flown over elements of Alaska and Canada earlier than traversing the U.S. mainland.

A mission to salvage the craft’s refined payload was nonetheless ongoing.

In Beijing, Wang repeated the road that the U.S. downed an “unmanned civilian airship” that had been blown off track whereas conducting meteorological analysis.

Requested how the Chinese language authorities reacted to the alleged American balloon incursions, he stated China’s responses had been “accountable {and professional}.”

China’s overseas ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin solutions a query throughout a press convention on the Ministry of International Affairs in Beijing on August 8, 2022. Wang instructed reporters at a daily briefing on February 13, 2023, that the US had flown balloons “greater than 10 instances” over Chinese language airspace previously yr.
NOEL CELIS/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

“Any declare that the U.S. authorities operates surveillance balloons over the [People’s Republic of China] is fake,” a State Division spokesperson instructed Newsweek.

“It’s China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence assortment, linked to the Individuals’s Liberation Military, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 international locations throughout 5 continents.”

“That is the newest instance of China scrambling to do injury management. It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it despatched over the US was a climate balloon and to at the present time has failed to supply any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of others,” the spokesperson stated.

The U.S. Air Pressure has downed three extra unidentified objects over North America—two within the U.S. and one in Canada—because the first balloon was shot down on February 4.

Beijing’s determination to show the tables on Washington confirms the balloon incident will stay a sticking level in U.S.-China relations within the close to time period, however Wang dismissed Chinese language involvement within the new objects, the final of which was introduced down on Sunday over Lake Huron in Michigan.

The Pentagon stated its flight path “raised considerations, together with that it may very well be a hazard to civil aviation,” nevertheless it has but to categorise any of the brand new airborne objects as balloons. An F-16 fighter plane shot it down from 20,000 toes utilizing an AIM-9X missile, the identical munition used within the different operations this month.

“The spy balloon from the PRC was in fact totally different in that we all know exactly what it was,” stated Melissa Dalton, the assistant protection secretary of homeland protection and hemispheric affairs, at a briefing with Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

Wang instructed reporters he wasn’t conscious of the extra flying objects however referred to as the U.S. responses to them “an aggressive overreaction.”

“No nation can assure that related accidents is not going to occur,” he stated. “The U.S. ought to take an goal and rational view and deal with it appropriately in a relaxed, skilled and restrained method.”

The U.S. Commerce Division on Friday sanctioned six Chinese language aerospace corporations it stated had been supporting Beijing’s high-altitude balloon program. Wang accused the U.S. of “escalating occasions” and stated China would “take crucial measures” to safeguard the pursuits of its firms.

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