China’s top diplomat Wang Yi slammed the US on the balloon incident at a multilateral forum on Saturday, terming Washington’s handling of the situation “hysterical” and “absurd” in his speech and also during bilateral meetings with foreign leaders.
Addressing a gathering of leaders at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), Wang said US President Joe Biden’s administration has a “misguided” perception of Beijing, and accused Washington of trying to “smear” the Asian giant
“There are so many balloons all over the world, so is the US going to shoot all of them down?,” Wang, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said at the MSC, according to reports from the conference.
Wang also brought up the topic during his meeting with Pakistani foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on the sidelines of the conference.
Wang pointed out that the “unintended entry” of a Chinese civilian unmanned airship into US airspace was due to force majeure, and this isolated, unexpected incident should have been handled calmly, rationally and professionally.
“However, the US ignored the basic facts, abused force, overreacted and hyped the situation,” he said. “…this almost hysterical practice showed that the US’ prejudice and ignorance of China has reached an absurd level,” Wang was quoted as saying by the state-run digital newspaper, The Paper.”
“China demands that the US show sincerity in solving the problem and stop doing such absurd things out of domestic political needs,” Wang said.
A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down off the Atlantic Coast earlier this month on President Joe Biden’s orders; Beijing denies it was a spy balloon.
Biden on Thursday confirmed that three other objects shot down over US airspace were not connected to China but did not apologise for shooting down the Chinese airship.
“I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,”Biden said at the White House on Thursday. Biden also said he would speak with China’s President Xi Jinping soon about this month’s incident.
“The US cannot ask for dialogue and communication while at the same time escalating confrontation and crisis. It should meet China halfway to manage differences, properly handle the unexpected isolated incidents, avoid misjudgments and work to bring bilateral relations back to the healthy and stable track,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said on Friday.