China Accuses US of Airspace Violation

China Accuses US of Airspace Violation

The balloon tension took a new turn when China accuses US of breaching their air space more than ten times since January, claim denied by the White House.

China Accuses US of Airspace Violation by “illegally” flying high-altitude balloons into its airspace more than 10 times since January 2022, claims that drew an immediate rebuttal from the White House, as bilateral tensions flare in the fallout from a Chinese balloon that was shot down by American fighter jets after traveling across the continental US.

China Accuses US of Airspace Violation, made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry without evidence, comes less than a day after China said it was preparing to shoot down an unidentified object flying near its eastern coast.

Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed Monday it is “common for US balloons to illegally enter other countries’ airspace.”

“Since last year alone, American high-altitude balloons have illegally crossed China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of relevant Chinese authorities,” Wang said.

It’s not clear why China did not publicize these details earlier, or whether it responded to the alleged intrusions when they occurred, after China Accuses US of Airspace Violation.


The White House denied Beijing’s accusation and described the claim as an attempt at damage control.

“Any claim that the US government operates surveillance balloons over the PRC is false. It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 countries across 5 continents,” a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control. It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the US was a weather balloon and has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace, airspace of others,” Watson added.

US Surveillance

Wang also accused the US of frequently sending warships and planes to carry out close-range reconnaissance against China, which he claimed amounted to a total of 657 times last year – and 64 times this January in the South China Sea.

“For the longest time, the US has abused its own technological advantages to carry out large-scale and indiscriminate wiretapping and theft of secrets from all over the world, including from its allies,” Wang said, adding that the US is “without a doubt the world’s largest surveillance habitual offender and surveillance empire.”

Wang made the comments in response to a question about the Chinese entity that owns the balloon downed by US fighter jets on February 4.

The spokesperson criticized the US Commerce Department’s Friday decision to restrict six Chinese aerospace companies from accessing US technology.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with this and resolutely opposes it. We will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and institutions,” Wang said.

He accused the US of “hyping up and exaggerating” the situation and “using it as a pretext to illegally sanction Chinese enterprises and institutions.”

‘Unidentified flying object’ near China’s coast

Maritime authorities in China’s Shandong province reported an “unidentified flying object” near Rizhao port and prepared to shoot it down.

Maritime authorities in Qingdao advised fishing vessel crews to stay alert, avoid danger, and help with debris recovery if possible.

“If debris falls near your boat, please help take photos to collect evidence. If conditions allow, please help salvage it,” the marine development department of Qingdao’s Jimo district said in the message cited by The Paper.

The report didn’t specify the object’s type, origin, or altitude.

As of Monday afternoon, Chinese authorities and state media hadn’t provided updates on whether the object had been taken down.

The unidentified object has stirred intense interest on China’s tightly controlled social media, attracting hundreds of millions of views. Many users followed state media reporting on the US’ response to the Chinese balloon.

Sources told CNN the device was part of a fleet of Chinese surveillance balloons, which the US intelligence community started tracking within the last year. So far, the US has detected suspected Chinese balloons over 40 countries across five continents, officials said.

Beijing maintains the device was a civilian research airship blown off course. In contrast to the US, where the balloon raised concerns, Chinese social media users found amusement, poking fun at the response.

China’s Foreign Ministry has accused the US of “overreacting” and “seriously violating international practice” in shooting down the Chinese balloon, while the Chinese Defense Ministry has said it “reserves the right to use necessary means to deal with similar situations.”

Social Media Buzz

On Sunday evening, Chinese social media buzzed with anticipation as users eagerly awaited the takedown of the object off China’s coast. A top comment on Weibo suggested a high-profile response, inspired by the US demonstration.

Monday morning saw the unidentified object become Weibo’s top trending topic, with two related hashtags amassing over 900 million views. Many wondered – some with a sense of disappointment – why authorities had not released any update on the shoot down.

“After waiting all night, why is there still no exciting news?” a comment asked.

China’s reported finding of the unidentified object coincides with increased scrutiny by the US and its allies on airspace objects.

Since Friday, the US has shot down three unidentified objects over the North American airspace – in the skies over Alaskanorthern Canada and Lake Huron.

American defense officials have said these recent objects were not a “kinetic military threat,” but could pose a safety hazard to civilian aviation due to the altitude they were flying at.

“In light of the People’s Republic of China balloon that we took down last Saturday, we have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radar, which may at least partly explain the increase in objects that we detected over the past week,” said Melissa Dalton, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs.

Source: CNN


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