United States denies China's accusations in tit-for-tat over spy balloons

The dispute comes on the heels of the United States shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina and subsequently, unidentified objects over Alaska, Canada, and Lake Huron over the weekend.

United States denies China's accusations in tit-for-tat over spy balloons
AP Photo/Liu Zheng
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On Monday, the United States vehemently denied Chinese accusations that it operates spy balloons over its territory.

The dispute comes on the heels of the United States shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina and subsequently, unidentified objects over Alaska, Canada, and Lake Huron over the weekend.

It is unclear if the three other objects besides the one downed off the coast of South Carolina were of Chinese origin.

Following the first shoot, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin asserted that U.S. balloons “illegally enter the airspace of other countries” without approval from Chinese authorities.

However, Wang offered no details to substantiate his claims, nor did he say how the alleged incursions happened or if they were connected to the U.S. government.

Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council, asserted that China was lying and attempting to deflect from the embarrassing situation they have caused. Watson drew attention to China’s own high-altitude surveillance balloon program, connected to the People’s Liberation Army, which has been used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and over 40 countries across five continents.

John Kirby, also of the National Security Council, flatly denied China’s claims during an interview Monday morning on MSNBC.

The United States responded to the Chinese spy balloon by sanctioning six Chinese aerospace companies for their purported involvement in the country’s spy balloon program.

The Commerce Department announced the sanctions on Friday, and Alan Estevez, undersecretary of Commerce for industry and security, stated in a statement that the China's use of high-altitude balloons “violates our sovereignty and threatens U.S. national security.”

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  • By Sheila Gunn Reid

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