| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

China says balloon over U.S. is civilian vessel blown off course

China expressed apologies for entering U.S. airspace on Friday, claiming a “airship” that is flying over the country is doing so for scientific and meteorological research.

According to U.S. authorities, a Chinese spy balloon has been flying over the country for a few days. This would be a daring gesture only days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Beijing.

In a statement late on Friday, China’s foreign ministry also said that it would continue to maintain communications with the United States to properly handle the unexpected situation.

“The airship is from China and is civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research. Due to the influence of westerly winds and its limited control capability, the airship deviated from its intended course,” it said.

“China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States by mistake due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the U.S. side to properly handle this accident,” it said.

  • Reuters