| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

China charges US of flying balloons over Xinjiang, Tibet, says will take countermeasures

Threatening to take measures against the US entities which have undermined the sovereignty of China, the latter charged the US of flying high-altitude balloons over the Xinjiang and Tibet regions.
Beijing and Washington have been involved in a tussle over the flying balloons after a Chinese balloon was shot down by the US military as it claimed it to be a spy device flowing over the coast of South Carolina.

However, Beijing claimed the balloon to be a civilian research vessel which had veered off mistakenly and stated that Washington had overreacted.
This week, China claimed that, since May 2022, US balloons have entered its airspace more than 10 times without permission.

“Without the approval of relevant Chinese authorities, it has illegally flown at least 10 times over China’s territorial airspace, including over Xinjiang, Tibet and other provinces,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin while speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.

The allegations made by the White House have been disputed by China.

Six Chinese entities, which are related to the suspected surveillance balloon programme of Beijing, have been added to an export blacklist by Washington.

“The US has abused force, overreacted, escalated the situation, and used this as a pretext to illegally sanction Chinese companies and institutions,” said Wang.

“China is firmly opposed to this and will take countermeasures against relevant U.S. entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security in accordance with the law,” he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is mulling over holding a meeting with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi in Munich this week, reports suggest.

Later on Wednesday, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that they have not stopped communication with China, however, she did not reveal any details of future high-level meetings.
“We hope when conditions make sense that we will be seeing each other face-to-face again. No announcements today,” she added.

“They have now said that there have been a gazillion balloons by the US over China. That is absolutely not true. There are no U.S. government balloons over China,” she said.

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