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China apologizes for balloon over Costa Rica


Beijing has admitted that the balloon over Latin America also comes from the People's Republic. Meanwhile, the United States is publishing details of the recently shot down flying object – such as its size and weight.

Enlarge image

Chinese Balloon (in US airspace on February 4th)

Photo: Travis Huffstetler / dpa

The alleged cases of Chinese balloon spying continued to concern government departments and diplomats at the highest levels.

After a copy was shot down by the USA at the weekend, there is another sighting - and a reaction from the People's Republic.

China has apologized to Costa Rica for a balloon spotted over Latin America.

The government in Beijing has admitted that one of its balloons flew over the territory of the Central American country, the Costa Rican foreign ministry said in a brief statement on Monday.

The Chinese embassy in San Jose "apologized for the incident and explained that the balloon was used for scientific research, especially weather studies." According to Chinese information, the balloon's flight path deviated from the original course and there were only limited options course correction.

A separate Chinese balloon was spotted over US territory last week and shot down by US Air Force fighter jets on Saturday.

US President Joe Biden has defended the shooting down over the sea.

At the same time, he rejected allegations made by Republicans in particular that the shooting took place too late.

The White House, meanwhile, announced that it was able to obtain intelligence information from the balloon and does not want to return the debris to Beijing.

Ballon was more than 60 meters high

"The moment it came to the United States from Canada, I told the Department of Defense that I wanted it down as soon as it was appropriate," Biden told journalists about the balloon.

“You said we shouldn't shoot him overland.

He wasn't a major threat and we should wait until he's afloat." At the same time, Biden made it clear that despite the incident, he didn't want to completely cut off contact with China.

Details about the flying object were also made known.

The balloon was about 200 feet tall and believed to have weighed as much as a small airliner, US Northern Command commander Glen VanHerck said on Monday.

It was also only shot above the water because it was feared that glass from solar panels or potentially dangerous material, for example from batteries, could have fallen down.

It was also expected that explosives would detonate and the balloon could have been destroyed.

Rubble should not be handed over

The debris is currently being salvaged off the coast of South Carolina.

They are trying to "recover as much of the Chinese high-altitude balloon as possible, primarily for the safety of the people in the region, but also to evaluate it and use it in every possible way," said VanHerck.

The naval survey ship Pathfinder used, among other things, sonar technology to measure the debris field.

The entire field has an approximate size of 1500 by 1500 meters.

Due to the swell, the work under water was initially made more difficult.

The operation takes place at a depth of around 15 meters, said VanHerck on Monday.

Regarding a possible return of the rubble to China, the spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, said: "I do not know of any intention or plans to return it." limit abilities.

At the same time, intelligence information was withdrawn from the balloon.

"We're still analyzing the information we were able to pull from the balloon before we launched it."

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-02-07

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