First the ‘spy’ balloon, now the question of its return deepens US, China crisis

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, who was asked whether Beijing has requested that the remnants from the shot down Chinese 'spy' balloon be returned, said: 'The airship does not belong to the US. It belongs to China'

Umang Sharma February 08, 2023 17:52:30 IST
First the ‘spy’ balloon, now the question of its return deepens US, China crisis

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover a high-altitude surveillance balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in the Atlantic ocean. AFP/US Navy.

Beijing: First China’s ‘spy’ balloon heightened tensions with arch rival US, now the return of it threatens to further mar US-China relations. America has said it won’t return it to China, but China is adamant: ‘it is ours, give it back’.

China, which earlier accused US of indiscriminate use of force in shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, now has requested that the Biden administration return debris from the ‘surveillance balloon’

‘It belongs to China’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, who was asked whether Beijing has requested that the remnants from the shot down Chinese ‘spy’ balloon be returned, said: “The airship does not belong to the US. It belongs to China.”

Also Read: Chinese ‘spy’ balloon: With payload of jetliner, it carried explosives to detonate, self-destruct, says Pentagon

‘US overreacted’

Reiterating Communist Party’s claim, Mao said that the balloon was civilian in nature and criticised the US for not acting in a “calm and professional manner.”

First the spy balloon now the question of its return deepens US China crisis
Source: AFP/US Navy.

“The unmanned Chinese airship is of civilian nature. Its unintended entry into US airspace is entirely unexpected and caused by force majeure. It didn’t pose any threat to any person or to the national security of the US. The US should have properly handled such incidents in a calm and professional manner not involving the use of force, yet they decided to do otherwise, which is a clear overreaction,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Don’t Miss: China accuses US of indiscriminate use of force over balloon

‘Civilian meteorological research airship’

A day ahead of the US shooting down the balloon, Chinese Foreign Ministry, on Friday, insisted that it was a civilian meteorological research airship that entered US airspace inadvertently after being blown off course.

Mao further claimed that some US politicians and media outlets “hyped” the incident to “attack and smear China,” but declined to provide any more details about the airship.

Must Read: US briefs diplomats from 40 nations on Chinese spy balloon incident

“The Chinese side has given information about the unmanned airship on several occasions. I don’t have anything to add at the moment,” Mao said.

She went on to say that the US government failed to respond in a “calm and professional manner,” instead overreacting to an incident that posed no security threat and didn’t endanger any Americans.

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