China has confirmed that a balloon flying over Latin America is Chinese, after a similar device was shot down by the United States over the weekend.
“It has come to be understood that the relevant unmanned airship is from China,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a briefing, saying the device “seriously deviated from its scheduled route, and accidentally strayed over Latin America and the Caribbean.”
The balloon has limited self-steering capability, Ms Mao said.
Colombia’s air force said in a brief statement on Saturday that a possible balloon had been detected in its air defence system on Friday morning.
The US military is searching for remnants of the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon it shot down on Saturday, while Beijing urged Washington not to escalate or take further action to harm its interests.
The US Navy is working to recover the balloon and its payload and the Coast Guard is providing security for the operation, General Glen VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, said yesterday.
A US F-22 fighter jet shot down the balloon in the Atlantic off South Carolina on Saturday, a response China described as an “obvious overreaction”.