China denounced the United States on Sunday for “obviously overreacting” and “seriously breaking international standards” by ordering the Pentagon to shoot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was observed flying over North America.
Beijing’s foreign ministry released a statement in which it said that China “expresses serious unhappiness and protests over the use of force by the United States to attack the unmanned civilian airship” and that it would “reserve the right to make future necessary reactions.”
Before being shot down by a missile from an F-22 jet on Saturday, the craft spent several days flying above North America, escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing, according to Pentagon officials.
The operation, according to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, was a “planned and lawful measure” in retaliation for China’s “unacceptable infringement of our sovereignty.”
The first time that a massive Chinese “surveillance balloon” was being tracked in US sky was on Thursday, according to American officials.
Beijing eventually acknowledged possession of the “airship” after some initial hesitation, but said it was actually a weather balloon that had been blown off course.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that it had “specifically demanded that the United States properly manage the problem in a calm, professional, and restrained manner.”
U.S. “insisted on employing force, manifestly overreacting and significantly breaking international practice,” according to Beijing.
The ministry stated in its statement that China “would steadfastly safeguard the lawful rights and interests of relevant firms and reserve the right to undertake additional appropriate responses.”