China says more than 10 US-made balloons flew over its airspace

Chi­na claimed on Mon­day that more than a dozen US high-alti­tude bal­loons have flown into its air­space with­out per­mis­sion in the past year, after Wash­ing­ton accused Bei­jing of oper­at­ing sur­veil­lance bal­loons around the world.

Chi­na’s accu­sa­tions came after the Unit­ed States shot down a Chi­nese spy bal­loon that crossed from Alas­ka to South Car­oli­na, spark­ing a new cri­sis in bilat­er­al rela­tions that have plunged to their low­est lev­el in decades.

For­eign min­istry spokesman Wang Wen­bin did not pro­vide any details, includ­ing how the US bal­loons were dis­posed of or whether they had ties to the gov­ern­ment or the military.

“U.S. bal­loons often ille­gal­ly enter oth­er coun­tries’ air­space,” Wang said at the dai­ly brief­ing. “Since last year, US high-alti­tude bal­loons have ille­gal­ly flown over Chi­na’s air­space more than 10 times with­out the approval of Chi­nese authorities.”

Wang said the U.S. “should first look at itself and cor­rect its course, rather than slan­der or foment conflict.”

Chi­na claims the bal­loon shot down by the US was an unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle intend­ed for weath­er research and veered off course. The Unit­ed States has shot it down, accus­ing it of over­re­act­ing and threat­en­ing unspec­i­fied action against it.

In the wake of the inci­dent, many hoped that US Sec­re­tary of State Antho­ny Brinken would be able to stem a sharp dete­ri­o­ra­tion in rela­tions over Tai­wan, trade, human rights and Chi­na’s intim­i­dat­ing actions in the South Chi­na Sea.

Also on Mon­day, the Philip­pines accused a mil­i­tary laser of tar­get­ing a Chi­nese coast guard ves­sel in the South Chi­na Sea, tem­porar­i­ly blind­ing some of its crew, in what it called a “clear” vio­la­tion of Mani­la’s sovereignty.

Wang said a Philip­pine coast guard ves­sel intrud­ed into Chi­nese ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters with­out autho­riza­tion on Feb. 6, and the Chi­nese coast guard ves­sel respond­ed “pro­fes­sion­al and restrained.” Chi­na owns most of its strate­gic water­ways and is steadi­ly build­ing up its mar­itime forces and island outposts.

“Chi­na and the Philip­pines are com­mu­ni­cat­ing through diplo­mat­ic chan­nels in this regard,” Wang said. Chi­na’s defense min­istry did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to ques­tions on the matter.

Fur­ther, on orders from Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, US fight­er jets shot down an “uniden­ti­fied object” over Lake Huron on Sun­day, rais­ing ten­sions. It was the fourth such down­ing in eight days, and Pen­ta­gon offi­cials say the anom­aly in U.S. air­space is unprece­dent­ed in peacetime.

The Chi­nese bal­loon shot down by the U.S. was rigged to detect and col­lect sig­nal infor­ma­tion as part of a huge mil­i­tary-linked aer­i­al sur­veil­lance pro­gram cov­er­ing more than 40 coun­tries, the Biden admin­is­tra­tion said on Thurs­day. cit­ing an image of the U‑2 spy plane.

Gen­er­al Glenn Van Hark, who heads NORAD and the U.S. North­ern Com­mand, said at a press con­fer­ence that one of the rea­sons for the repeat­ed down­ings was “increased vig­i­lance” fol­low­ing the alle­ga­tions of Chi­nese spy balloons.

As part of its response to the inci­dent, the Unit­ed States has imposed eco­nom­ic restric­tions on six Chi­nese com­pa­nies asso­ci­at­ed with Bei­jing’s aero­space program.

The U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives also vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to con­demn Chi­na for its “bla­tant vio­la­tion” of U.S. sov­er­eign­ty and its efforts to “defraud the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty with false claims about its intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing campaign.”

Chi­nese spokesman Wang said, “It is an over­re­ac­tion that the US fre­quent­ly shoots down objects with advanced missiles.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.