The Foreign Affairs spokesman stated that US objects flew over Chinese territory without authorization since last year, although he did not give further details and limited himself to asserting that his reaction was “responsible”. On the other hand, Washington rejected these versions at a time when they are investigating the origin of a fourth downed flying instrument, which does not resemble the previous ones and of which Beijing denied its authorship.
The scandal that originated in early February, when the United States identified a Chinese spy balloon over its territory, continues adding episodes in a framework of increased tensions between the two powers.
This Monday, February 13, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, commented that the United States has also carried out balloon incursions over the airspace of the Asian giant on at least ten occasions during 2022 without any authorization.
The spokesman did not provide further details in this regard and only assured that the Government handled the situations in a “responsible and professional” manner and invited the press to ask the US authorities for more information.
The Chinese media reported in the last hours of an unidentified flying object sighted off the east coast of the country and that the military was in the process of shooting it down. Wenbin did not refer to it, claiming that it depends on “competent authorities.”
Any claim that the US government operates surveillance balloons over the PRC is false. It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 countries across 5 continents. https://t.co/VzPceB6JUh
— Adrienne Watson (@NSC_Spox) February 13, 2023
Washington’s response was blunt: Beijing’s versions are baseless. This was expressed by Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, ruling that “any information that the United States government is using spy balloons over China is false.”
In addition, he theorized that Beijing seeks to “limit the damage” of its air raids, of which it violated the sovereignty of the US and “more than 40 countries” for its “spy balloon program,” he said.
The context of aerial objects has added edges since, at the beginning of the month, Washington detected and followed a Chinese spy balloon, of which the usefulness is unclear. China claimed it was for weather studies, while US forces agreed it was not a civilian threat.
Since then, relations have become so tense that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a diplomatic trip to the capital of the world’s second largest power. In addition, three other devices were detected flying over the United States and Canada, but there are no clarifications about their origin.
For NATO there is a pattern of Russian-Chinese surveillance
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the matter at a press conference in Brussels and added ingredients to the situation. The official stressed that there is a “pattern” of China and Russia “increasing surveillance and intelligence activities” against allies.
“We see it in cyberspace, we see it with satellites, more and more satellites and we see it with balloons,” he declared in advance of the organization’s defense ministers’ meeting to be held tomorrow and Wednesday in the Belgian capital.
While he announced that in the conclaves they will address the issue to increase cooperation in space. “Share more data, collect more data, also from commercial satellites, and then share it in the NATO command structure,” he said.
With EFE and Reuters