Beijing labels US balloon claims ‘information warfare’.
China denies the US accusations that a Chinese balloon was downed were part of an extensive surveillance program. This is “information warfare” against China.
China claimed Thursday that U.S. allegations of a Chinese balloon being downed were part of an extensive surveillance program. This was “information warfare” against China.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon stated that the Chinese balloon that was shot down over South Carolina on Saturday was part of a program that involved a number of airships similar to those China has operated for “several decades.”
Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, reiterated China’s assertion that the large unmanned balloon was a civilian meteorological aircraft that had accidentally gone off course. The U.S. had also “overreacted” and shot it down.
Mao stated that “it is irresponsible.” These latest allegations “may be part of the U.S. side’s information warfare against China.”
Officials from the United States have denied China’s claims. Agents from the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI are now cataloging the debris from the ocean and moving it to further processing.
Brig. The Pentagon press secretary, Gen. Pat Ryder.
He said that “subsequent intelligence analyses” allowed the U.S. to confirm they were part of a Chinese spying effort, and “a lot more information” about the program.
China says U.S. accusations that a downed Chinese balloon was part of an extensive surveillance program amount to “information warfare against China." https://t.co/7K21N2SlZA
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 9, 2023
Ryder stated, “I can assure that this was not for civilian purposes… We are 100% sure about that.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, top administration officials briefed Congress members in classified sessions about the Chinese balloon surveillance program.
In the aftermath of the incident, Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned visit to Beijing. This is a setback in efforts to arrest a further decline in bilateral relations which have fallen to their lowest point in decades.
He stated that the U.S. had briefed many countries about the program, which officials claimed has been active on five continents.
He said that the United States was not his only target during a news conference with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief.
Blinken stated that Stoltenberg and he had discussed the “systemic, tactical challenges” China presents to the alliance and the importance for combating them.