China protests US downing of balloon, reserves right for any necessary reaction

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China said it’s strongly discontented with the US downing of its balloon and reserves the right for any necessary reaction to the incident.

The use of force against the balloon, which China said is for civil-ian use and entered the US accidentally, was an “obvious overre-action and violated international standard practices,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

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China had asked the US to handle the matter in a calm, profes-sional and reserved manner, the ministry said, adding that the US Department of Defense had stated the balloon won’t pose a threat to personnel on the ground. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi had sought calm and timely communication between the two countries to avoid misunderstandings in a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

The US alleged the balloon was attempting to surveil strategic sites in the country. After days of waiting, it shot it down off the South Carolina coast on Saturday. The incident has injected new tension into US-China relations and led Blinken to postpone a vis-it to China to meet with President Xi Jinping.

China said on Friday that the balloon was a civilian airship con-ducting climate research and accidentally blew off course.

Read more: Watch: US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon over ocean

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