China says US balloons trespassed over their airspace more than 10 times since early 2022

US balloons
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, the remnants of a large balloon drift above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of South Carolina, with a fighter jet and its contrail seen below it, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, responding to a question at a regular media briefing in Beijing, did not provide further details.

US balloons illegally flew over China more than 10 times since the beginning of 2022, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. 

“It is nothing rare for US balloons to illegally enter other country’s airspace,” Wang told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing on Monday. 

“The US needs to reflect upon itself and change its wrong practice,” he added. “We reserve the right to take necessary means to deal with relevant incidents.”

The comments mark the first time China has accused the US of sending balloons over its territory since the American military downed a Chinese machine earlier this month it said was used for surveillance. China had previously said its balloon was designed to research the weather and had inadvertently flown off course.

In the briefing, Wang sidestepped a question about a report in The Paper, a Chinese media outlet, said China was getting ready to take down an unidentified object flying over its waters near the port city of Qingdao.

— With assistance by Colum Murphy


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