China accuses US of shooting down suspected spy balloon: ‘Indiscriminate use of force’ – National

China blamed on monday America “The indiscriminate shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon has seriously affected and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing China-US relations,” he said.

The United States shot down a balloon over the Carolina coast after it passed a key North American military installation. China claimed the flyover was an accident involving a commercial aircraft.

Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng said on Sunday that he had lodged a formal complaint with the US embassy about attacks by US forces on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship.

“However, the United States did not listen and insisted on the indiscriminate use of force against civilian airships leaving U.S. airspace. ‘ said Sher.

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The balloon’s presence over the United States has dealt a severe blow to an already strained US-China relationship that has been in a downward spiral for years. This prompted Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-risk visit to Beijing aimed at de-escalating tensions.

Xie reiterated China’s claim that the balloon was a Chinese civilian unmanned airship that accidentally blew into US airspace, calling it an “accidental incident due to force majeure.”

“China resolutely safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, resolutely safeguards China’s interests and dignity, and reserves the right to take necessary measures,” he said.

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U.S. officials said U.S. President Joe Biden gave the order to shoot down the plane after being advised that the best time for the operation was on the water. Military officials decided that lowering the balloon from an altitude of 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) to the ground would pose undue danger to people on the ground.

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“What the United States has done has seriously affected and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing China-US relations since the Bali talks.” I hoped to create positive momentum to improve our depressed relationship.

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Mao Ning, a foreign ministry spokesman, did not provide new details on Monday, but reiterated China’s claims that the object was a civilian balloon intended for meteorological research, had little ability to pilot, and was mistakenly She veered off course and entered U.S. airspace. didn’t mention.

In his daily briefing, Mao Zedong said, “Although he said this was a completely isolated and accidental incident caused by force majeure, the United States still deliberately promoted the incident and used force to attack.” This is unacceptable and irresponsible behaviour.”

Balloons believed to be or known to be of Chinese origin have been found from Latin America to Japan. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters on Monday that a flying object similar to the one shot down by the United States has been spotted over northern Japan at least twice since 2020.

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“We continue to analyze them in relation to the latest cases in the United States,” he said.

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Mao confirmed that a balloon recently spotted over Latin America was made in China and described it as a civilian airship used for flight tests.

“Due to weather conditions and limited self-control capabilities, the airship deviated significantly from its planned route and accidentally entered space in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Mao said.

While Washington and Beijing are at odds over issues ranging from trade to human rights, China is most sensitive to alleged violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity by the United States and others.

Beijing strongly protests the sale of US troops to Taiwan and visits by foreign politicians to Taiwan.

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In response to then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit in 2022, it fired missiles over the island and conducted menacing military exercises seen as rehearsals for an invasion or blockade. Beijing has also cut off talks with the US on issues such as climate change that are unrelated to military tensions.

Mao last week warned Pelosi’s successor, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, against traveling to Taiwan, hinting that China’s reaction would be equally tumultuous.

“China will resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests,” said Mao Zedong. McCarthy said China has no right to dictate where and when he can travel.

China also opposes foreign military reconnaissance aircraft flying off its shores in international airspace and US and other foreign warships passing through the Taiwan Strait, denouncing them as aggressively provocative. are doing.

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In 2001, a U.S. Navy plane conducting routine patrols near the coast of China collided with a Chinese fighter, killing a Chinese fighter pilot and damaging a U.S. plane, leaving the Chinese naval air base on an island in southern China. was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan province. China detained 24 U.S. Navy crew members for 10 days until the United States expressed regret over the Chinese pilot’s death and unauthorized landing at the base.

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The South China Sea is another major source of tension. China claims that the strategically important sea area is virtually its entirety and protests that US naval vessels pass through Chinese military installations there.

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At a press conference with his South Korean counterpart on Friday, Blinken said, “The presence of this surveillance balloon in our skies is a clear violation of our sovereignty, a clear violation of international law and a clear violation of international law. This is unacceptable. And we made it clear to China.”

“I think any country whose airspace has been violated in this way would have a similar reaction. I can only imagine how China would react if China were on the other side,” said Blinken. .

Oriana Schuyler Mastro, who specializes in China’s military affairs and foreign policy at Stanford University, said China’s weather balloon explanation should be dismissed entirely.

“It’s sort of the standard thing that countries say about surveillance assets,” Mastro said.

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China may have made a mistake and lost control of the balloon, but it is unlikely that it deliberately tried to sabotage Blinken’s visit, Mastro said.

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For the US administration, the decision to go public and then shoot down the balloon is a departure from its usual approach of dealing privately with Beijing on such matters, perhaps in hopes of changing China’s future behavior. means.

But Mr Mastro said Beijing was unlikely to react aggressively.

“They will probably dismiss it and carry on as they are. So I don’t see a clear path to improving the relationship in the near future.”

AP journalists Tian Macleod Ji (Bangkok), Mari Yamaguchi (Tokyo), and news assistant Caroline Chen (Beijing) contributed to this report. China accuses US of shooting down suspected spy balloon: ‘Indiscriminate use of force’ – National

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