Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed on Monday, without further detail, that high-altitude balloons originating from the U.S. have flown over Chinese airspace more than 10 times since January last year.
At a media briefing in Beijing, Wang assured that his country’s response to these events was both professionally and responsibly handled.
The briefing comes after a number of ‘balloons’ were launched between the U.S., Canada and China, causing an increase in tensions between Beijing and Washington.
UFOs—China or aliens?
Two days after Canada confirmed that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) shot down an unidentified flying object over Yukon, an airborne object was shot down on Sunday at the command of U.S. President Joe Biden in Lake Huron, Michigan, for security reasons related to the potential surveillance capabilities of the object. The latter object’s nature has yet to be identified.
On Sunday, in light of the shoot-down, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said he “spoke with President Biden,” adding that “Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object.”
I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. @NORADCommand shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 11, 2023
The U.S. Defense Department confirmed on Friday that a “high-altitude object” was shot down over Alaska after assessing that it could pose a “threat to civilian aircraft.”
On January 28, the first Chinese balloon to be publicly reported was detected over the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Alaska, before it was found floating over missile sites in Montana. Days later, after tracking, the U.S. decided to shoot it down over the South Carolina coast.
While the U.S. has claimed that the balloons are used for spying purposes by Beijing, China said they are used for weather surveillance and they had mistakenly entered U.S. airspace due to a force majeure.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said then that “China… never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country,” adding that “some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China.”