China accuses U.S. of indiscriminate use of force over balloon : NPR
BEIJING – China on Monday accused the United States of indiscriminate use of force when US military shoots down hot air balloon suspected of spying on China Saturday.
The United States shot down a hot air balloon off the coast of Carolina after it passed by sensitive military sites across North America. China insists the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he had submitted a formal complaint to the US Embassy on Sunday about “the US attack on a Chinese civilian drone by military force. “
The presence of hot air balloons in the skies over the United States dealt a heavy blow to already strained US-China relations that had been going downhill for years. It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a visit to Beijing to ease tensions.
Xie repeated China’s insistence that the balloon was a Chinese unmanned civil airship that blew into US confusion, calling it “a random incident caused by force majeure.”
China will “resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely protect China’s interests and dignity, and reserve the right to make further necessary responses,” he said. “.
US officials said US President Joe Biden ordered the shoot down after being told that the best time to carry out the operation was when it was on the water. Military officials determined that lowering the balloon to the ground from 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) would pose an undue risk to those on the ground.
“What the US has done has seriously affected and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-US relations since the Bali meeting,” Xie said, referring to the meeting. Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Indonesia that many expected. will create a positive impetus to improve relationships that have reached a multi-year low.