China recommends “cool-headed” management of a dispute with a massive Chinese balloon.
Antony Blinken cancelled a trip to Beijing, calling the existence of the “spy” balloon “irresponsible conduct”.
John Kerry says Chinese spy blimp over the US was “unacceptable” and “irresponsible” .
China has recommended “cool-headed” management of a dispute with a massive Chinese balloon that is travelling towards the eastern United States.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a trip to Beijing, calling the existence of the “spy” balloon “an irresponsible conduct.”
A second Chinese balloon was later spotted above Latin America, according to the US.
China apologized for the balloon over the US, claiming that it was a weather blimp that had been misdirected. When last seen, it was above Missouri.
This weekend, it’s anticipated to make its way to the east coast of America around the Carolinas.
Due to the risk of falling debris, the US has opted against shooting down the high-altitude airship.
The event occurs while tensions between the US and China are deteriorating.
In a statement on Saturday, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing “never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country”.
It said its senior foreign policy official Wang Yi had discussed the incident with Mr. Blinken over the phone, stressing that maintaining communication channels at all levels was important, “especially in dealing with some unexpected situations in a calm and reliable manner”.
It added that Beijing “would not accept any groundless conjecture or hype” and accused “some politicians and media in the United States” of using the incident “as a pretext to attack and smear China.”
US officials claim that the airship passed over Alaska and Canada before surfacing over Montana, a US state that is home to several critical nuclear missile facilities.
The incident angered top US officials, with Mr Blinken saying he had told Beijing the balloon’s presence was “a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law” and “an irresponsible act”. He called it “unacceptable” and “even more irresponsible coming on the eve of a long-planned visit”.
On February 5 and 6, the senior American diplomat was scheduled to travel to Beijing for talks on a variety of topics, including security, Taiwan, and Covid-19. The summit would have been the first important one between China and the US in years.
However, US defense officials revealed on Thursday that they were monitoring a massive spy blimp over the US.
While the balloon was, the Pentagon said, “travelling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic” and did “not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground”, its presence sparked outrage.
Finally acknowledging ownership of the balloon on Friday, China claimed it was a civilian airship used for meteorological research that got lost due to severe weather.
And late on Friday, the Pentagon reported the discovery of a second Chinese surveillance balloon, this one over Latin America.
“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” said Pentagon press secretary Brig Gen Patrick Ryder.
He didn’t say where it was, but there have been reports of sightings over Venezuela and Costa Rica.
China has not yet responded publicly to the alleged second balloon.
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