‘Obvious overreaction’: China protests balloon launch

“Apparent Overreaction”
China protests balloon launch

After a Chinese spy balloon hovers over the US for days, the Pentagon finally decides to launch it. For the Chinese government, that goes too far: the balloon has never posed any danger. In addition, Beijing brings up “necessary reactions” to the incident.

China has protested the downing of the Chinese balloon used for espionage after US accusations. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing expressed China’s “strong dissatisfaction” with the US use of force against a “civilian unmanned airship”.

China reserves the right to “necessary reactions”. China has repeatedly informed the United States that the balloon is for civilian purposes and entered US airspace “by force majeure, which was completely accidental.” This is now being used to discredit the People’s Republic. The Pentagon itself has said the balloon poses no threat to the military or people on the ground. US insistence on the use of force under these circumstances is an “obvious overreaction” and a violation of standard international practice.

The balloon had been observed over US territory for some time and was then crashed by the Air Force with the help of fighter jets off the Atlantic coast on Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. The “security of the American people” is paramount, he declared, while denouncing “the unacceptable violation of our sovereignty by the People’s Republic of China.” US President Joe Biden hailed the “successful” operation, in which the balloon was shot down by a fighter jet carrying a missile and its remains fell into water just 14 meters deep.

Balloon with “similar properties” over Colombia

Austin accused China of using the balloon to attempt surveillance of strategic US mainland facilities. A senior Defense Ministry official said the balloon was part of an entire fleet that China was using to spy on five continents, including Europe. The minister had postponed his planned trip to China due to the incident.

Amid the dispute between Washington and Beijing, Colombia informed of an object with “similar characteristics” in its airspace. The Colombian Air Force tracked the object through its defense systems until it left the airspace, it said. It presented “no threat to national security and defense or flight safety”. The Air Force is now working with other countries to determine the origin of the object.

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