|The Chinese balloon flew over US airspace on February 1. Photo: AP
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a news conference on Monday that, “affected by the weather and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course and entered the airspace of Latin American and Caribbean countries.”
Mao said China is a responsible country and always adheres to international law. Beijing informed the governments of the countries affected and handled the situation, stressing that the balloon did not pose a threat to any country.
Her statement came after Colombia’s military sighted an airborne object similar to a balloon flying over its airspace. The US’s military also detected a balloon in its airspace between January 28 and January 30, and deployed a fighter jet to shoot it down on Saturday.
Mao said that it was a random, unintended incident and that "both sides, especially the US, should handle it calmly and professionally without the use of force”. The spokeswoman called on Washington and Beijing to control disagreements and avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments which destroy mutual trust.