How Dare You: Indignant China (Again) Lashes U.S. for Shooting Down Balloon

weather balloon
Screenshot, Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

An indignant China on Monday used diplomatic channels to accuse the U.S. of indiscriminate use of force when the American military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, saying the act had “seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-U.S. relations.”

It was the second time in just over 48-hours Beijing proclaimed its innocence and denied any foul play was involved in the balloon flyover entering U.S. air space before being shot down.

China repeated the assertion it was a harmless, non-military weather research “airship.”

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy hours earlier to set out Beijing’s distress over the “U.S. attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force.”

“However, the United States turned a deaf ear and insisted on indiscriminate use of force against the civilian airship that was about to leave the United States airspace, obviously overreacted and seriously violated the spirit of international law and international practice,” Xie said, according to the Associated Press.

China would “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely safeguard China’s interests and dignity and reserve the right to make further necessary responses,” he said.

@RealUSC via Storyful

China has already said it reserved the right to “take further actions” and criticized the U.S. for “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning provided no fresh details, repeating China’s insistence the object was a civilian balloon intended for meteorological research, had little ability to steer and entered over the U.S. by accidentally diverging from its course.

Nor did she say what additional steps China intended to take in response to Washington’s handling of the issue and cancellation of Blinken’s trip, which would have made him the highest ranking U.S. official to visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have stated that this is completely an isolated and accidental incident caused by force majeure, but the U.S. still hyped up the incident on purpose and even used force to attack,” Mao said Monday at a daily briefing, AP reports. “This is an unacceptable and irresponsible action.”

“China will firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests,” Mao further warned.

Elsewhere a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the official Global Times news outlet, “This is like shooting a mosquito with a cannon, which is not only overreacting but also impractical.”

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