Posted 7 февраля 08:08
Published 7 февраля 08:08
Modified 7 февраля 09:10
Updated 7 февраля 09:10
"Under the influence of the weather and with limited self-control capabilities, the Chinese airship deviated far from the planned course and entered the airspace of South America and the Caribbean", - The New York Times quoted a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning.
Even before US Air Force fighters shot down a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina, the Colombian National Air Defense System detected an object that entered the northern part of the country's airspace, the Colombian Air Force said in a statement.
Local military experts have determined that the object has characteristics similar to a balloon shot down over the United States. In any case, the balloon is at an altitude of almost 17,000 meters and is moving at an average speed of 25 knots.
"Washington believes that all these balloons are part of the PRC's air fleet, designed to conduct special operations to collect intelligence that violate the sovereignty of other countries," Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.
In Bogota, representatives of the authorities, in turn, reported that the Colombian Air Force will monitor the object until it leaves the country's airspace. However, the military believes that the Chinese balloon does not pose a threat to national security. Experts and analysts are trying to figure out what route he did before he got to South America.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, writes the NYT, said that the country's government "condemns the US attack on a civilian unmanned aerial vehicle of Chinese origin".
"Once again, the White House has used force instead of treating the situation with the seriousness and responsibility it deserves", - the Venezuelan government said in a statement.
Answering journalists' questions, Mao stressed that the Chinese government had informed relevant officials in other countries about the possible appearance of a Chinese balloon launched for scientific purposes in the sky. According to her, "they expressed their understanding there".