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Beijing expresses strong dissatisfaction at the US shooting down suspected spy balloon

China spy balloon

Beijing: China has expressed strong dissatisfaction and anger at the US shooting down the alleged spy balloon off the US Atlantic coast. Beijing said it may make "necessary responses" to the use of force.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday morning said that shooting down a "civilian aircraft" is "clearly overreacting and seriously violating international practice." Beijing after the initial hesitation admitted that it is a civilian weather balloon that blew off course.

The ministry further said the US insisted on using force instead of responding in a restrained manner. "China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of relevant enterprises and reserve the right to make further necessary responses," said China in a statement.

The balloon was flying over North America for several days before the Pentagon took it down on Saturday afternoon with a missile fired from an F-11 plane off the coast of South Carolina. It was the military's first chance to take down the balloon without posing a threat to the safety of Americans.

American officials on Thursday said they were tracking a large Chinese "surveillance balloon" in US skies. Following this, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday scrapped a trip to Beijing meant to contain the tensions between the US and China. The Pentagon said the balloon first entered US airspace over Alaska on January 28 and drifted over Canada before entering the US days later.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the operation a "deliberate and lawful action". Washington called the suspected spycraft an "unacceptable violation of sovereignty" on China's part.

This is not the first time Chinese balloons have been spotted in the US or other parts of the world. Several of these have been seen across five continents including East Asia, South Asia, and Europe in the recent past.

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TAGS:Chinese spy balloonspy balloon in Atlantic coast
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