China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Monday stated China has spotted at least ten unauthorized US high-altitude balloons over Chinese airspace in the past year. Webin also warned that the US should “reflect on its own behavior and change course rather than attacking others and stoking confrontation.” The comments came amidst increased US scrutiny after the US military shot down a Chinese-owned balloon that floated into US airspace in early February. US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson denied Wenbin’s allegations. Watson stated:Any claim that the US government operates surveillance balloons over [China] is false. It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 countries across 5 continents.The Wenbin’s statements come after the US shot down a Chinese balloon in the air over the Atlantic Ocean on February 4. Since then, the US has shot down three other unidentified objects in the air: one off the coast of Alaska, one over the Canadian Yukon, and one over Lake Huron off the coast of Michigan. Military teams are currently trying to recover debris and identify what the objects were. It is not yet known if China was also involved with the three most recent unidentified objects.The coverage has sparked international legal debate on whether the Chinese balloon violated US airspace and international law or if it was an accidental fly over like China claims. Regardless, the incidents have put countries around the world on watch. The UK Prime Minister stated that the UK has not observed any balloons over its airspace, but there are jets on constant standby to monitor and protect the UK’s airspace.
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