Washington on Monday dismissed allegations by Beijing, which accused it of sending balloons over Chinese territory, amid tension between the two countries since a Chinese plane’s overflight of American soil was finally shot down.
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“Any allegation that the US state is using spy balloons over China is false,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
“It is China that has a high-altitude spy balloon program to gather information it has used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and more than 40 countries on 5 continents,” he said, adding them on Twitter .
Beijing claimed earlier Monday that “American balloons” had flown over Chinese territory “more than 10 times without permission” since last year.
A US State Department spokesman also denied the allegations, saying Beijing was trying to “limit the damage.”
China has “repeatedly and falsely claimed that the spy balloon sent to the United States is a weather device” and has not provided “a credible explanation for its intrusion into our airspace and that of others,” he said.
The overflight of American territory by a Chinese balloon, seen by Washington as a “spy” plane, has cooled relations between the two powers, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken even postponing his planned visit to China at the last minute.
Since the first incident, other flying objects have been sighted over Canada and the United States before being shot down.