Alleged espionage China accuses US of using balloon

Alleged espionage: China accuses US of using balloon

Status: 02/13/2023 12:03 pm

In the dispute over balloon launches in North America, China has made serious accusations against the United States. The “espionage empire” is using balloons, planes and ships against their country, said Itamaraty spokesman Wang.

China has accused the US of dropping high-altitude balloons over China more than 10 times in the past year. This was done without the permission of the People’s Republic, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing. America must stop blaming others and seek confrontation.

It is quite common for American balloons to fly at high altitudes over other countries. The US has also sent planes and warships to gather intelligence on China, the spokesman said. There have already been 64 missions in the South China Sea this year.

US allegedly spying on allies

“It’s pretty clear which country is the world’s leading spy empire,” the spokesman said. He also referred to wiretapping activities and a large network of agents in the United States. The US intercepted calls and messages from foreign leaders in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and other European countries, Wang said.

The spokesman reiterated that the entry into US airspace of the Chinese balloon shot down a week ago was a “completely unexpected and isolated event” caused by “force majeure”. He had “no information” about the other flying objects reported later.

Fourth aircraft shot down over the Huron Sea

The US Army destroyed the fourth flying object on Sunday. It was shot down on the US-Canada border over Lake Huron. US President Joe Biden ordered the culling as a precautionary measure, two US government officials said, without elaborating. The object was not classified as a “military threat”.

Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan tweeted that “the object was shot down by US Air Force and National Guard pilots.” “We are all interested in knowing exactly what this object was and what purpose it served.”

Republican Congressman Jack Bergman, from the state of Michigan, where the lake partially covers, wrote on Twitter that he has been in contact with the Department of Defense about operations in the area. “I applaud the decisive action taken by our fighter pilots,” he wrote. And: “The American people deserve far more answers than we do.”

The recovery of mortal remains should provide information

US fighter jets shot down two unidentified flying objects on Friday and Saturday: one off the coast of the US state of Alaska and the other off northern Canada. Until now it is not clear what kind of objects they were, where they came from and what was their purpose. Rescue of mortal remains must provide information.

A week earlier, the US Air Force had shot down a Chinese balloon suspected of being used for espionage purposes off the coast of the state of South Carolina.

First contact between US and China

The United States has already communicated with China about the case for the first time. Deputy Defense Secretary Melissa Dalton told reporters on Sunday that there had been “contacts with the People’s Republic of China over the high-altitude balloon”. She did not provide any information about who was involved in the contact or what it contained.

First, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin unsuccessfully asked for a meeting with the Chinese defense minister. Beijing confirmed on Thursday that it declined a call to Austin after the balloon was launched. “The US’ irresponsible and seriously flawed approach has not created a suitable atmosphere for dialogue and exchanges between the two armies,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said.

Spy balloon or just weather balloon?

The one-day flyby of the Chinese balloon over the United States sparked a scandal between Washington and Beijing. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned trip to China at the last minute. Washington said last week that the downed balloon was part of a fleet of spy balloons that flew across five continents.

After discovering the balloon, China denied the spying claim. Instead, Beijing spoke of a civilian meteorological balloon that had veered off course.

Fourth aircraft shot down over North America

Arne Bartram, ARD Washington, 02/13/2023 12:20 pm