tirsdag 14. februar 2023

China accuses US of ‘illegally’ flying balloons across its airspace

China has accused the United States of “illegally” flying high-altitude balloons into its airspace more than 10 times since January 2022, claims that drew an immediate rebuttal from the White House, as bilateral tensions flare in the fallout from a Chinese balloon that was shot down by American fighter jets after traveling across the continental US. The accusation, made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry without evidence, comes less than a day after China said it was preparing to shoot down an unidentified object flying near its eastern coast.

At a regular news conference Monday, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed it is “common for US balloons to illegally enter other countries’ airspace.” “Since last year alone, American high-altitude balloons have illegally crossed China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of relevant Chinese authorities,” Wang said. It’s not clear why China did not publicize these details earlier, or whether it responded to the alleged intrusions when they occurred.

The White House denied Beijing’s accusation and described the claim as an attempt at damage control.