U.S.-China diplomatic spat escalates as Pentagon says second ‘spy balloon’ tracked | World News

China claimed the “airship” flight over the United States was an accident and accused politicians and the media of taking advantage of the situation.

The US claimed the craft was a suspected spy balloon and said it was a “clear violation” of US sovereignty.

China insists it is used for meteorological and other scientific research.

“China has always strictly abided by international law and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

U.S. officials said earlier that it had Postponed visit to China Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke after the sighting.

However, a Chinese spokesperson said Beijing Washington did not announce any visits, “the US announcement is their own business, we respect that”.

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In a separate statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wang Yi, director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission, spoke with Mr. Blinken on Friday night and discussed how to handle the unexpected incident in a calm and professional manner.

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Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ride confirmed a second “spy balloon” was being tracked.

He added: “We have seen reports of balloons flying over Latin America. We are now assessing that it is another Chinese surveillance balloon.”

U.S. authorities have confirmed that the original balloons tracked across the U.S. in recent days were Chinese surveillance equipment.

In a news conference on Friday, the Pentagon said the balloon was heading east but posed no “physical or military threat” to civilians.

The Pentagon press secretary would not confirm the current location of the balloon, which operates at an altitude of about 60,000 feet.

A map showing where the balloon was found and Malmstrom Air Force Base in the United States
A map showing where the balloon was found and Malmstrom Air Force Base in the United States

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Commodore Ryder said there was also no evidence that any nuclear or radioactive material was on board, but it was capable of being manipulated.

The object is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, not far from the coast Alaskaand pass Canada before entering the United States.

Military and defense leaders considered shooting balloons out of the sky but decided against it due to the safety risk of falling debris.

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