China confirms presence over Latin America, but says it’s ‘civilian in nature’

The Pentagon spotted it on Friday February 3, in full tension between the United States and China, after a first Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted in the American sky. China’s second balloon, hovering over Latin America and designated by the United States as a ” surveillance “does come from China, but is “of a civil nature”, assured Chinese diplomacy on Monday, February 6.

“After checking, it turns out that this unmanned balloon comes from China. It is civilian in nature and used for flight testing”, explained Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She added during a regular press briefing that sUnder the effect of the climate and due to its limitations in terms of maneuverability, this balloon seriously deviated from its planned trajectory and got lost in the sky over Latin America and the Caribbean.without specifying which entity the machine belongs to.

Strong Sino-American tensions

The American army shot down on Saturday, on the orders of President Joe Biden, the first Chinese balloon which had been flying over the United States for several days, off the coast of South Carolina, in the south-east of the country. China claimed it was a civilian aircraft and accused the United States of having “overreacted” by using force.

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The incident led to the postponement of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China. Scheduled for February 5 and 6, it obviously included a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. A first of its kind for six years for a head of American diplomacy. The visit would not have been “appropriate” because of “irresponsible act” Chinese, according to a statement from the State Department.

“US actions have seriously affected and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress to stabilize China-US relations since the Bali meeting” between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in November 2022, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said in a statement on Monday.

On the sidelines of this first incident, the US Department of Defense announced on Friday that it had spotted a second “Chinese surveillance balloon” over Latin America, while Colombia reported that the craft had flown over its territory during the weekend.

The Colombian Air Force said the balloon was spotted on Friday morning and monitored until it left national airspace. The military authorities of the South American country assured that the machine had at no time ” threat “ security and defense of the country. No details of its whereabouts or trajectory were given.

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The World with AFP

source site-29