China claims second suspected spy balloon above Latin America


Chinese officials have confirmed that an “unmanned aircraft” currently flying over Latin America also originated in China, even as Beijing shot down another suspected spy balloon that flew over the United States mainland last week. He intensified his protest against the decision.

At a regular news briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said the second balloon also came from China but claimed it was used for a civilian flight test. “Due to weather effects and limited self-driving capability, the aircraft seriously deviated from its intended course,” Mao said.

The Pentagon had already identified the vehicle as another suspected Chinese surveillance tool, similar to the white globe seen by civilians hanging over the US state of Montana on Wednesday. Beijing said there was a weather balloon that had blown up.

China blames US politics for ‘overreaction’ to suspected spy balloon

Asked why China had so much trouble keeping its balloons under control, Mao said he was “not an expert” and could only say that “this is not the first time that the international community has asked for scientific advice.” Balloons used for the purpose have lost control.”

Separately on Monday, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xi Feng filed a “strong representation” at the US embassy in Beijing over the shooting down of the balloon by an F-22 Raptor that has been slowly drifting over continental US airspace for days. I flowed. He said that the facts are very clear that the incident was accidental and should not be misrepresented. “China urged the US side not to escalate or escalate the tense situation.”

After initially expressing regret over the balloon display, China hardened its stance over the weekend with accusations that the United States’ response was an “overreaction” and “serious violation of international practices”. was violated.” The Chinese military said it reserves the right to use unspecified “necessary means” in similar situations.

After U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blanken postponed a planned visit to Beijing over the incident, China has sought to stem diplomatic fallout and signal resolve to domestic audiences.

Although few had expected a significant detente, the trip to Blankenship would have been the first visit by America’s top diplomat to China in five years and would benefit a meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in November. Help to deliver.

After a decade of increasingly turbulent foreign policy, Xi began his third term with a display of diplomatic pragmatism, analysts said, easing international tensions and focusing on domestic economic and Covid concerns. By the desire of

Instead of better relations, China now finds itself struggling to contain a protracted crisis spilling out of its relationship with the United States.

So far, however, Latin American countries have mostly kept quiet about the second balloon. Colombia’s air force said on Saturday it had monitored an object flying over its airspace at an altitude of 55,000 feet.

Inside China, nationalist Chinese commentators have piled on America-ridiculous memes and unsubstantiated theories to back up their claims that the incident shows American weakness.

Zhanhao, one of the most popular current affairs blogs on the social media platform WeChat, declared that the US had not “detected” the balloon when it entered US airspace and was simply lucky. “This is like advertising a weakness in US anti-air defenses. If a concerned country wants to attack the US, all it needs to do is produce a ‘research’ balloon.

The article did not mention that US officials had previously considered shooting it down, but decided to wait until it was over open water to avoid the risk of people on land hitting the debris.

But ministry spokesman Mao suggested on Monday that it was actually China that was unaware of the balloon’s entry into US airspace. Asked when Chinese officials noticed the balloon had gone off, he said without elaborating, “After it was reported by the US side, we immediately investigated.”

Geet Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.

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