The People’s Republic of China has requested the return of its surveillance aircraft, which was shot down over the United States last Saturday.
During a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning answered questions about the incident but declined to provide further information on the spy balloon or similar aircrafts flying in North and South American airspace.
The Pentagon claimed to have taken action to protect sensitive information from the spy platform, but experts believe it was unlikely to have been successful as the balloon likely transmitted surveillance data to China as it flew over military bases.
Mao confirmed that the airship belongs to China and expressed disappointment in the U.S. government’s handling of the situation, stating that the balloon was civilian in nature and posed no threat to U.S. national security.
The Pentagon also claimed that three similar Chinese spy balloons flew over the U.S. during the Trump administration, a claim that was disputed by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
However, a senior administration official informed Fox News that the existence of these balloons was not discovered until the Biden administration took office.
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