On Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Biden's downing of the Chinese surveillance balloon in the Atlantic Ocean earlier in the day after it traversed a large portion of the continental United States was an "overreaction and a serious violation of international practice."
The Washington Post reports, a statement out of Beijing said, "The Chinese side has clearly asked the US side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner. Under such circumstances, the US use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice."
"China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further," the statement continued.
According to the Associated Press, China's Foreign Ministry "echoed the statement later in the day, saying it 'reserves the right to take necessary measures to deal with similar situations.'"
Biden said early Saturday that "we're going to take care of it" with regards to the balloon, and issued the order to down the dirigible around 2 pm after it had cleared Surfside Beach, South Carolina. Two F-22 fighter jets had started circling the balloon and one eventually launched a missile to neutralize the target.
The balloon, which was roughly the size of three school buses and flying approximately 60,000 feet in the air, had entered US airspace on January 28 and was known to the Biden administration for nearly a week before its report in the news on Thursday, February 2. The White House tried to keep the balloon secret to not disrupt Secretary of State Antony Blinken's scheduled Sunday trip to China. The trip was postponed when the news was made public by Montana's local Billings Gazette publishing pictures of the balloon.
As Jack Posobiec tweeted, the DOD confirmed that the Chinese airship was spying on strategic areas.
Chinese officials said the balloon was a civilian weather vessel that had deviated from its charted course and accidentally entered US airspace. According to the statement out of Beijing earlier in the week, "The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure."
Meifang Zhang, a Chinese government official, tweeted, "Perhaps #China was simply giving the #US a balloon. Much like one would give a child to make them feel better! #balloon #Saturdayvibe."
According to the Washington Post, "Earlier in the week, Chinese commentators had poked fun at the United States for not taking down the balloon immediately, with some highlighting that in 2019, a Chinese J-10C fighter jets used missiles to shoot a 'foreign high-altitude reconnaissance balloon' out of the sky over southwestern Yunnan province."
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