China FM after US Shooting Down of Balloon: “A Serious Violation of International Practice. Right to Responses”
by Carlo Domenico Cristofori
«China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary».
The Foreign Ministry, led by Qin Gang (in the cover pics), issues statement on the US Claim of downing a Chinese Unmanned Airship on February, 5, 2023. Text of the statement posted in English to Chinese diplomatic websites (link below).
«China strongly disapproves of and protests against the US attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force. The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the US side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the US due to force majeure was totally unexpected» he added on the shooting down by the U.S. of a Chinese balloon over the Atlantic Ocean after it had traversed the United States from Alaska to South Carolina this week (also over Canada).
#DOD says high altitude balloon over Montana yesterday was a spy balloon from #China. I did a quick run of the #NOAA HYSPLIT model to trace backwards the path of an object. Using 14K meters over Montana yesterday I get the following – Yup Central China!https://t.co/FHiG79f4th pic.twitter.com/DeZLjjkPei
— Dan Satterfield (@wildweatherdan) February 2, 2023
«The Chinese side has clearly asked the US side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner. The spokesperson of the US Department of Defense also noted that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Under such circumstances, the US use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice. China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary» concluded the Chinese Foreign Ministry as reported
Before the statement by China was issued, the Defense Department published a “news” report on the shoot down that included a quote from a senior official disputing China’s claims about the balloon:
“While Chinese officials admitted that the balloon was theirs, they said it was a runaway weather balloon. “The PRC has claimed publicly that the high-altitude balloon operating above the United States is a weather balloon that was blown off course. This is false,” the official said. “This was a PRC surveillance balloon. This surveillance balloon purposely traversed the United States and Canada, and we are confident it was seeking to monitor sensitive military sites.”
A U.S. Air Force fighter safely shot down a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a written statement.
President Joe Biden ordered the action on Wednesday, but it was delayed until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure no Americans on the ground were harmed.
“The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters,” Austin said.
The action was taken in coordination and support of the Canadian government. “We thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through [North American Aerospace Defense Command] as it transited North America,” Austin said. “Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Austin said referring to the Peoples Republic of China.
According to the Gateway Pundit, U.S. officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands. The balloon traversed Alaska, Canada and re-entered U.S. airspace over Idaho.
“President Biden asked the military to present options and on Wednesday President Biden gave his authorization to take down the Chinese surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to us civilians under the balloon’s path,” said a senior defense official speaking on background. “Military commanders determined that there was undue risk of debris causing harm to civilians while the balloon was overland.”
An F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon.
The balloon fell approximately six miles off the coast in about 47 feet of water. No one was hurt.