Another Chinese spy balloon seen flying over Latin America, Pentagon reports
The Pentagon has claimed that a second Chinese espionage balloon was allegedly overflying Latin America at the same time the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken postponed a trip to China due to the entry of a second high-altitude Chinese balloon into US territory.
“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America,” Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder said, a day after the first craft was spotted over US skies. “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon.”
The Pentagon did not specify the balloon’s exact location, but a US official told CNN it did not appear to be currently heading towards the US.
In South Korea on Friday, Blinken said he had spoken with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, and “made clear that the presence of this surveillance balloon in US airspace is a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law”.
Blinken said, however, that he had told Wang that “the United States is committed to diplomatic engagement with China and that I plan to visit Beijing when conditions allow”.
READ ALSO:US confirms Chinese ‘spy balloon’ entered its airspace
“The first step is getting the surveillance asset out of our airspace. That’s what we’re focused on,” he told reporters.
As the first US secretary of state to visit China since October 2018, Blinken’s trip would have marked a warming in relations following tensions under the administration of previous President Donald Trump.
Blinken declared last month that he would use the journey to assist set up “guardrails” to keep the relationship from degenerating into a full-blown fight.
China apologised for the presence of the craft in US airspace, claiming it was a weather balloon that had been blown off course, but US officials made clear they did not believe that explanation.
Asked about the balloon, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday: “The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace … It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes … The airship deviated far from its planned course.”
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