Chinese embassy Chargé d'Affaires in US lodges stern representations over US’ move to shoot down unmanned airship
Published: Feb 08, 2023 10:53 AM Updated: Feb 08, 2023 10:11 AM
China US File Photo:CFP

China US File Photo:CFP

China expressed firm opposition to and strong protest against the US using force to attack an unmanned Chinese civilian airship, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in the US Xu Xueyuan said on Tuesday (local time). China lodged stern representations with senior officials from the US Department of State and White House National Security Council, according to the embassy on Wednesday.

China urged the US not to take any actions that may escalate and complicate the situation and that China reserves the right to make further responses if necessary, Xu noted.

Xu pointed out that the unintended entry of the airship is an entirely unexpected, isolated incident caused by force majeure. China has, after verification, clarified the situation multiple times with the US and clearly asked that the US handle it in a calm, professional and restrained manner.

The US military on Saturday local time shot down a “suspected Chinese spy balloon” off the Carolina coast following authorization from the Biden administration after the airship had spent several days inhabiting US airspace. The action was hailed by the US President Joe Biden as “a success,” according to US media reports. 

“The balloon does not belong to the US, it belongs to China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said at Tuesday’s regular press briefing. The US said it has no plans to return debris from the balloon, according to media reports.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on February 3 when answering a question that the civilian airship is used for research, mainly meteorological purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course. 

As a responsible country, China strictly adheres to international law and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, Mao Ning said at Monday’s regular press briefing.