Following the US decision to shoot down a Chinese balloon that Beijing claimed had veered off course, China’s foreign ministry on Monday stated that the move has “seriously impacted and damaged” ties between the two countries.
The ‘spy balloon’ had been hovering over North America’s sky for several days, prompting the US to call off a scheduled visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing.
The US had shot it down off the coast of South Carolina while terming it Beijing’s “unacceptable violation” of American sovereignty.
Also read: China says it is looking into report of spy balloon in US airspace
Beijing resented the move, claiming the balloon was a civilian aircraft meant for meteorological research and even lodged an official complaint with the US embassy in China on Sunday.
“The United States’ actions have seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilising Sino-US relations since the Bali meeting,” said vice foreign minister Xie Feng in the complaint, according to a foreign ministry statement.
He was referring to a summit between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in November.
“Beijing is paying close attention to the development of the situation and reserves the right to make further necessary reactions,” the statement added.
Earlier, Pentagon officials had termed the airship as a “high-altitude surveillance balloon” on Friday. They said Washington had initiated measures to prevent it from gathering sensitive information.