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China Accuses US of Illegal Balloons

China accuses the US of illegally flying more than 10 high-altitude balloons in its airspace in the past year, adding to recent tensions in bilateral relations." Slug: "us-china-balloon-tensions

China Accuses US of Illegal Balloons

Tensions between the US and China continue to escalate, with China Accuses US of Illegal Balloons flying more than 10 high-altitude balloons in its airspace in the past year without permission. The recent claim by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin came after the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, igniting a new crisis in the already strained bilateral relationship.

Wang did not provide any details about the alleged US balloons, but stated, “It is also common for US balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries… since last year, US high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China‚Äôs airspace more than 10 times without the approval of Chinese authorities.”

China asserts that the balloon shot down by the US was an unmanned airship used for meteorological research that had been blown off course, while the US alleges it was equipped to collect intelligence signals as part of a military-linked aerial surveillance program. The incident prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a visit to Beijing and the US to place economic restrictions on six Chinese entities linked to Beijing’s aerospace programs.

Adding to the tension, the Philippines recently accused a Chinese coast guard ship of targeting a Philippine coast guard vessel with a military-grade laser in the South China Sea, and the US shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron. In response to these actions, Wang called for the US to “first reflect on itself and change course, rather than smear and instigate a confrontation.”

The increasingly hostile relationship between the two nations after China Accuses US of Illegal Balloons has reached its lowest level in decades, with various issues including Taiwan, trade, human rights, and threatening Chinese actions in the South China Sea contributing to the strain. As tensions continue to escalate, the international community is left to wonder what the future holds for US-China relations.