China vows to impose countermeasures on US entities following balloon hype; illegal US balloons detected over China’s Xinjiang, Xizang
Published: Feb 15, 2023 03:46 PM
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo: Chinese Foreign Ministry

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo: Chinese Foreign Ministry

China vows to impose countermeasures against US entities that undermine China's sovereignty and security after Washington used armed force to shoot down a Chinese airship designed for civilian use, which was also used by the US government as excuse to illegally sanction Chinese companies and institutions. 

The US has released a large number of high-altitude balloons over the US and has continued to conduct operations around the world since last May. Without the approval of the relevant authorities in China, these balloons have illegally flown over China's airspace at least 10 times, including over Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Southwest China's Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, revealed at a routine press conference on Wednesday. 

China has repeatedly explained to the US that Chinese civilian airships flew into the US airspace due to force majeure, but the latter neglected to mention that a US balloon illegally flew over the Chinese airspace without China's approval, and also accused  China of spreading false information, Wang said. 

The US accused the Chinese airship of flying into the US airspace and violating American sovereignty, but how will the US explain illegal balloons flying over China's airspace? Wang asked. 

China handled US balloons illegally entering China's airspace with a calm and professional attitude, but the US has overreacted to Chinese airship designed for civilian use that flew into its airspace due to force majeure. The US should explain this situation to China and the international community, the spokesperson said. 

Wang also urged the US to stop smearing China and misleading the American public and international community while China reserves the right to take further actions if necessary. 

The US military shot down another airborne object over Lake Huron on Sunday on the orders of US President Joe Biden, marking the third day in a row that an unidentified object has been shot down over North American airspace after a Chinese civilian unmanned airship used mainly for meteorological research purposes was taken down on February 4.

The US government said on Tuesday that so far it has no evidence that the three airborne objects it shot down last weekend were linked to China or any other foreign spy program, according to US media reports. 

"I don't see any other connection other than overreaction," Wang said when he was asked whether those four airborne objects were connected to the original case. 

The US' frequent use of its armed forces to shoot down so-called unidentified objects only exposes its paranoia and hysteria toward China, some Chinese experts claimed. 

Over recent days, the US' balloon paranoia has only been aggravated as Washington mobilizes its allies, including Japan, South Korea and NATO, to trump up the "China threat" narrative. 

Wang also urged Japan to stop following the US in hyping the subject. As a responsible country, China has always strictly observed international law and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. "Without conclusive evidence, Japan has made a fierce attack against China, which we are firmly opposed to," he said. 

Japan should take an objective and fair position, correctly view this unexpected situation caused by force majeure, and stop following the US in speculation and hype, the spokesperson emphasized.