The balloons continue to fly around the new diplomatic impasse between the two world superpowers. This time, the one that has looked at its skies has been China and -of course- it has found a UFO floating, which later turned out to be -of course- a balloon.
That is what the Chinese authorities have assured this Thursday. The place of sighting was in the surroundings of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, north of China. Even, according to what officials have told the local media, some flights that were supposed to take off from that city's airport were delayed during midday, while others were diverted.
For now, in addition to the usual espionage theories and various rumors on social networks, no further official details have been released about this latest balloon. Four days ago, the Qingdao Marine Development Office, in Shandong province on the country's east coast, said they had glimpsed another "unidentified flying object" and that Chinese authorities were preparing to shoot it down.
"If debris falls around your boat, help take pictures as evidence. If conditions permit, help salvage the wreckage," said a message from that office sent to fishing boats operating in the Bohai Sea. After the alert, nothing more was heard about that object.
On Wednesday, during the daily press briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, spokesman Wang Wenbin said that US balloons had flown over his airspace without permission more than 10 times since May 2022.
"American high-altitude balloons have flown over regions of Xinjiang, Tibet and other provinces," Wang said, warning that his country would take action against "US entities that undermine Chinese sovereignty" in response to the six Chinese companies Washington added a few years ago. days to their blacklist for allegedly being connected to Beijing's surveillance balloon program.
US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman later responded that China's claims about the US balloons were false. "Now they've said the United States has dropped billions of balloons over China. That's not true. There are no US government balloons over China," Sherman said.
These are the latest moves in a diplomatic crisis that began with the huge Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US and was shot down on February 4 by an F-22 jet off the coast of South Carolina. Beijing acknowledged that the balloon was its own, but continues to insist that it was simply a "civilian unmanned aircraft" that functioned as a weather analysis device.
This week, the Washington Post published an investigation noting that the first Chinese balloon may have been blown by high-altitude winds from its original flight path, which was the US territory of Guam, an island in the Western Pacific. , where the US Marines opened their first military base in 70 years in January.
"Somewhere along that easterly route, the craft unexpectedly turned north," US intelligence officials tell the Washington Post, now advocating the possibility that China did not intend to violate China's airspace. The US, as Beijing assured from the beginning.
This week, the head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi, director of the Central Committee on Foreign Affairs, Beijing's most powerful tool in foreign policy, has begun a tour of Europe. Wang is expected to attend the Munich Security Conference, where he could meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who canceled his planned trip to Beijing two weeks ago over the spy balloon crisis.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project