Beijing, Feb 6 (EFE).- China on Sunday protested vigorously after the United States shot down an alleged surveillance balloon that had entered its airspace, calling the use of force an “overreaction.”
In a press release, the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs insisted that the airship in question was of “civil use” and that “it entered the US due to force majeure, constituting a completely unintended situation.”
It added that Beijing had requested Washington to deal with the situation in a “calm, professional and restrained manner.”
“Under such a circumstance, the US side’s persistence in using armed force is an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” the statement said.
Moreover, the ministry warned that it would “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise concerned” and reserved the right to make further necessary responses.”
The Chinese reaction comes a day after the US shot down the Chinese balloon – that had been flying over the country for several days – on a direct order by President Joe Biden.
The remains of the airship fell in the sea and were being salvaged to know the details of a mission “used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States,” the Defense Department said.
Washington said that the balloon’s route passed over several “potentially sensitive” sites, which contradicts Beijing’s explanation after the latter admitted on Friday that the apparatus was Chinese, and claimed that it was a civilian airship mainly conducting meteorological research that had blown off course.
The discovery of the “spy balloon” in US airspace triggered a diplomatic crisis between the US and China and led to the suspension of a Beijing visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken scheduled for this weekend.
On Friday, the Pentagon said it had detected a second Chinese balloon flying over Latin America, although Beijing has not yet responded to this claim. EFE