The Chinese government said Saturday that President Biden’s decision to shoot down the spy balloon that crossed America was an “excessive reaction” and that it “retains the right to respond further.”
China claims that its balloon was a “civilian airship” and not the spy device the US claimed it to be, and said that the US’s decision to destroy its property “seriously violates international convention,” according to a statement obtained by The New York Times.
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the statement said. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”
Two US Air Force fighter jets took out the balloon off the coast of North Carolina Saturday afternoon.
By the time the white orb — the size of three school buses — deflated and fell into the ocean, it had spent eight days in the country and covered more than 4,000 miles of American territory.
Biden admitted that the Pentagon had known about the balloon since it entered US air space, but decided to keep their knowledge of it a secret to preserve the Chinese-American relationship ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
China had publicly said Friday that the balloon was a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes” that had “deviated far from its planned course.”
The balloon’s entry into American airspace was unintended, the nation maintains.