Balloon over Latin America belongs to China, says Beijing

Balloon floats over Columbia, Montana. AP.

Beijing: The balloon detected over the skies of Latin America belongs to China, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

The spokesperson said that it was a civilian balloon on a test flight.

This is the first time China has admitted that the balloon spotted over two Latin American countries belonged to China.

How Chinese balloon reached Latin America?

Beijing claims that it was the second balloon that drifted off course due to the weather after the military in the US shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that flew for days over the continental US.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, “It has come to be understood that the relevant unmanned airship is from China.”

Mao went on to say that the device, with limited self-steering capability, “seriously deviated from its scheduled route, and accidentally strayed over Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Also Read: Chinese spy balloons entered multiple times in US, went ‘undetected’

Earlier, a statement was released by Colombia’s air force stating that it had detected possible balloon in its air defense system on Friday.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson further said, “China is a responsible country. We have always strictly abided by international law. We have informed all relevant parties and appropriately handled the situation, which did not pose any threats to any countries.”

All parties “expressed their understanding,” she added.

US search for debris off South Carolina coast

The US military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon and the next day, started searching for the debris.

“Members of the US Military are coordinating to collect debris; however, fragments may make it to the coastline,” the Horry County Police Department statement said.

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The balloon was shot down by a missile from an F-22 fighter after US President Joe Biden authorised the downing of the alleged spy balloon.

China, meanwhile, expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the US use of force to strike its “unmanned civilian” airship, calling it a “serious violation of international practice.”

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