– We have received reports of a balloon flying over Latin America. We consider this to be another Chinese surveillance balloon, US Department of Defense spokesperson Patrick Ryder said in a statement.
It’s unclear where the balloon is over South America.
However, a US official speaks out CNN that it does not appear to be heading towards the United States at the moment.
On Thursday evening, US authorities reported what they believe to be a Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States. The balloon was also observed over Canada.
This balloon appears to be heading east, over the central United States. according to CNN is the last known location of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
China said the balloon’s presence over the United States was caused by wind and was an “accident.” In a statement released by the country’s foreign ministry on Saturday, they accused force majeure.
– The Chinese side regrets that the plane inadvertently entered the United States due to force majeure. We will continue to communicate with the US side and handle this unexpected situation, created by force majeure, appropriately, a spokesperson said, according to the newspaper. World Time.
At the same time, they accuse American politicians and media of exploiting the situation to discredit China.
– China has always respected international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release on Saturday.
China says the plane, as it calls it, is a weather balloon that went astray.
– We have no intention of violating the territory or airspace of another country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said yesterday at a press conference in Beijing.
A large payload, described as surveillance equipment, is suspended beneath the balloon, according to the U.S. Department of Defense Pentagon.
There have been contacts between China and the United States regarding the Chinese balloon flying over the American continent, both countries confirm.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke directly on Friday evening with Wang Yi, who served as Chinese foreign minister until December last year and still plays a role central.
They had to discuss how to handle such accidents in a calm and professional manner.
Wang Yi told Blinken that the two sides must communicate to avoid errors of judgment, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
– Violation of international law
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he made it clear to Wang that the presence of the balloon was a blatant violation of international law.
On Friday, Blinken announced that he had suspended his planned visit to China for the time being, but would make the trip when conditions permit. Blinken should have met with new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and probably President Xi Jinping
– The first thing we need to do now is to remove the surveillance balloon from our airspace. That’s what we’re focused on, Blinken said.
According to CNN, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President are kept informed of the progress of the balloon.
The US Department of Defense says the balloon poses no danger to people on the ground and there is no indication it is carrying radioactive or nuclear material.
They considered shooting the balloon down, but say that is difficult for safety reasons. They are afraid that large and heavy pieces will fall on houses and people.
The unwanted craft will likely be over the United States for several days. It flies about 60,000 feet above the ground, much higher than commercial air traffic.
The Pentagon says it has observed similar surveillance balloons in the past, but stays in U.S. airspace have not been as long.
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