China ‘Reserving The Right To Take Further Actions In Response’ To Downed Spy Balloon
China and Taiwan are responding after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon on Saturday off the coast of North Carolina.
President Joe Biden ordered for the three-bus-sized spy balloon to be shot down “as soon as possible,” which meant holding off on the operation until it was safely over waters.
While intelligence recovery efforts for the balloon are ongoing, on Friday the Pentagon confirmed a second Chinese balloon had been spotted over Latin America. More precisely passing over the Panama Canal and moving southeast over Venezuela, according to the Daily Mail.
“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told CNN.
China Reacts To Balloon Takedown
In regard to the U.S.-located balloon, while China stated that the airship had unintentionally entered U.S. airspace “due to force majeure” and called the shooting down of the balloon an “obvious overreaction.”
Ryder told reporters the balloon actually had “the ability to maneuver” and therefore denied China’s claims of its “civilian research” purpose.
On Sunday, China’s ministry of foreign affairs said: “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.”
As for reactions from other countries, Taiwan, which has repeatedly had Chinese spy balloons floating over its territory, said the incident “should not be tolerated by the civilized international community” as such actions contravene international law, breach the airspace of other countries and violate their sovereignty.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, saying, “The CCP regime should immediately cease conduct of this kind that encroaches on other countries and causes regional instability.”
Back In the U.S., Republican lawmakers had called on the Biden administration to act quickly. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) of the Senate’s intelligence committee told ABC News that China sent its balloon as “a message” and that the communist country sees the U.S. “in decline”.
Meanwhile, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) told the New York Post, “Communist China’s surveillance balloon violates international law and threatens our homeland.”
A Third Chinese Balloon On The Way
According to The Washington Post, an anonymous source said a third balloon is operating elsewhere, although its location has not yet been revealed. Officials don’t know exactly what the balloons do, just that they have “some sophisticated communications gear.”
China had said the first balloon was collecting weather data when it was blown off course; nonetheless, it was spotted in Montana hovering over a U.S. military base with nuclear missile silos.
The Pentagon has studied 366 unexplained incidents since 2021 and determined that 163 were balloons, according to The New York Times.
Additionally, a U.S. defense officials says there were three Chinese spy balloons that entered U.S. airspace during Former President Donald Trump’s administration, CNN reports.
This article was originally published on Benzinga and appears here with permission.