Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

BEIJING — China on Thursday mentioned U.S. accusations {that a} downed Chinese language balloon was a part of an in depth surveillance program quantity to “data warfare in opposition to China.”

The Pentagon on Wednesday mentioned the Chinese language balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast Saturday was a part of a program involving plenty of such airships that China has been working for “a number of years.”

Learn Extra: Downed Chinese language Balloon A part of International Spy Operation, Pentagon Alleges

At Thursday’s each day briefing, Chinese language International Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning repeated China’s insistence that the big unmanned balloon was a civilian meteorological airship that had by accident blown off target and that the U.S. had “overreacted” by taking pictures it down.

“It’s irresponsible,” Mao mentioned at a each day briefing. The newest accusations “could also be a part of the U.S. facet’s data warfare in opposition to China.”

U.S. officers have dismissed China’s claims and brokers from the FBI and the Naval Felony Investigative Service are cataloguing particles recovered from the ocean and transporting it for additional processing.

Learn Extra: ‘We Will Act to Shield Our Nation’: Biden Addresses China Throughout State of the Union

When related balloons handed over U.S. territory on 4 events through the Trump and Biden administrations, the U.S. didn’t instantly establish them as Chinese language surveillance balloons, mentioned Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary.

However he mentioned “subsequent intelligence evaluation” allowed the U.S. to substantiate they have been a part of a Chinese language spying effort and be taught “much more” about this system.

“I can guarantee you this was not for civilian functions … We’re 100% clear about that,” Ryder mentioned.

Prime administration officers have been briefing members of Congress on the Chinese language balloon surveillance program in labeled periods on Wednesday and Thursday.

Learn Extra: China Has an Intensive Satellite tv for pc Community. Right here’s Why It Would Use a Balloon to Spy

Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a go to to Beijing deliberate for this week within the wake of the incident, dealing a setback to efforts at arresting an extra deterioration of bilateral relations which have spiraled to their lowest degree in a long time.

He mentioned the U.S. has briefed dozens of nations on this system, which officers mentioned has been energetic over 5 continents.

“The USA was not the one goal,” he mentioned at a information convention with visiting NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Blinken mentioned he and Stoltenberg had spoken concerning the “systemic and tactical challenges” that China poses to the alliance and the significance of combatting them.

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