China claims that several American balloons have flown over its airspace in the last one year – National

China said on Monday that more than 10 US high-altitude balloons have flown over its airspace without permission during the past year, following Washington’s allegation that Beijing operates a worldwide fleet of surveillance balloons.

The Chinese accusation comes after the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that crossed from Alaska to South Carolina, sparking a new crisis in bilateral ties which have reached their lowest level in decades. I went.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin gave no details about the alleged US balloons, how they were dealt with or whether they had government or military ties.

“It is also common for US balloons to illegally enter other countries’ airspace,” Wang told a daily briefing. “Since last year, American high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than 10 times without approval from Chinese authorities.”

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Wang said that the US “should first consider itself and change its course instead of provoking and discrediting the confrontation.”

China says the balloon shot down by the US was an unmanned airship intended for meteorological research that was blown up en route. It has accused the US of overreacting by downplaying it and threatened unspecified action in response.

Click to play video: 'Biden ordered shoot-down of unidentified object 'out of an abundance of caution': White House'

Biden ordered shooting down of unidentified object ‘out of an abundance of caution’: White House

Following the incident, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a visit to Beijing, leading many to expect a sharp deterioration in relations over threats of Chinese action in Taiwan, trade, human rights and the disputed South China Sea.

Also on Monday, the Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard vessel of targeting a Philippine coast guard vessel with a military-grade laser and temporarily blinding some of its crew in the South China Sea, calling it Manila. described as a “blatant” violation of the sovereign rights of

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Wang said a Philippine coast guard vessel had entered Chinese waters without permission on February 6, and the Chinese coast guard ships responded “with professionalism and restraint”. China claims virtually all strategic waterways and is steadily building up its navy and island outposts.

“China and the Philippines are maintaining communication through diplomatic channels in this regard,” Wang said. China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a question about the incident.

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Escalating tensions, a US fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday on orders from President Joe Biden. It was the fourth such downing in eight days in an extraordinary series of incidents in US airspace that Pentagon officials believe have no peacetime precedent.

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Chinese balloons shot down by the US were equipped to detect and collect intelligence signals as part of a vast, military-linked aerial surveillance program that targeted more than 40 countries, US U- Citing imagery from 2 spy planes, the Biden administration announced on Thursday. ,

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NORAD and the head of the US Northern Command, Gen. Glenn VanHerk, told reporters that one reason for the repeated firings after the alleged Chinese spy balloons was “increased alertness.”

The United States has since imposed economic sanctions on six Chinese entities linked to Beijing’s aerospace programs as part of its response to the incident. The US House of Representatives also voted unanimously to condemn China for its “brazen violations” of US sovereignty and its attempts to “deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection operations”.

Chinese spokesman Wang rejected such claims by China, repeating, “The continuous firing of advanced missiles by the US to shoot down objects is a reaction to over-labor.”

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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