China vows to take measures against US over downing of spy balloon
China stated that it would take steps against U.S. entities in relation to the downing of a Chinese spy balloon off America’s East Coast.
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, did not give any details or identify the targets during a briefing Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
China claims the balloon was an unmanned weather aircraft that was accidentally blown off its course. The U.S. is accused of overreacting by bringing it down using a missile launched from an F-22 fighter jet.
Since the Feb. 4 downing of the balloon, the United States has sanctioned six Chinese entities it said are linked to Beijing’s aerospace programs.
The U.S. House of Representatives subsequently voted unanimously to condemn China for a brazen violation? of U.S. sovereignty and efforts to deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns.? Secretary of State Antony Blinken also canceled a visit to Beijing that many hoped would stabilize ties that have cratered amid disputes over trade, human rights, Taiwan and China’s claim to the South China Sea.
China has denied that the balloon was a military weapon, but it has not yet revealed what government department or company was responsible.
China, despite initially regretting the balloon’s entry into U.S. airspace has now made spying accusations against Washington and threatened retaliation.
China firmly opposes this and will take countermeasures in accordance with the law against the relevant U.S. entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security,? Wang said at Wednesday’s briefing.
China will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and its legitimate rights and interests,” Wang said.
Also Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said the Chinese balloon’s intrusion was part of a pattern of aggressive behavior by Beijing.
Emanuel noted China’s recent beaming of a military-grade laser on a Philippine coast guard patrol vessel, the harassment of U.S. planes by Chinese jets, and China’s opening of illegal police stations in the U.S., Ireland, and other countries.
The balloon to me is not an isolated incident, Emanuel said.
If China wants to be a respected member of the international community, ?then you act appropriately to certain basic premises. that is you don’t open police stations in other countries ignorant of their laws as if your laws don’t have any boundaries, he said.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said at least three flying objects spotted in Japanese airspace since 2019 were strongly believed to have been Chinese spy balloons. It said it has protested and requested explanations from Beijing.