China hits out at US for downing suspected Chinese spy balloon

  • The US military shot down a Chinese airship on 4 Feb. The Pentagon claimed the balloon was surveilling strategic sites in the country, ending an episode that prompted US President Joe Biden’s administration to postpone a visit to Beijing by his top diplomat.
  • Beijing slammed Washington and says it reserves the right to a further response to Washington’s decision to shoot down the airship on the grounds that it was an ‘overreaction’.
  • The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited that China strongly disapproves of and protests against the US attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force. They added that Beijing had notified the US side “repeatedly” that the airship was only for civilian purposes and had entered the US accidentally and posed no military threat to people on the ground.
  • China’s military echoed the sentiment, with defence ministry spokesman Tan Kefei saying the country reserved the right to take “necessary means when faced with similar situations”.
  • The public disclosure of the balloon this week prompted the cancellation of a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing for talks aimed at reducing US-China tensions.

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