A diplomatic row has erupted between the US and China after a spying balloon was spotted at a high altitude in the skies over America. At first, the Chinese refused to admit the balloon flying over the United States was theirs. Then, they said it was a meteorological airship that had blown off-course.

“The airship is from China and is civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research. Due to the influence of westerly winds and its limited control capability, the airship deviated from its intended course,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs  issued a statement.

According to the Pentagon, the balloon is being used by China for spying. “Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” said the Press Secretary, Brig. Gen. Ryder.

To make things even more dramatic, the spying balloon was discovered on the eve of a planned visit by Secretary Blinken to China. As a result, the trip is now being canceled.

At a press conference at the State Department, Secretary Blinken said that China’s surveillance balloon is “a clear violation of our sovereignty a clear violation of international law, and clearly unacceptable.”

While Blinken was supposed to travel to China, he said that the spying “created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip, including ongoing efforts to build a floor under the relationship and to address a broad range of issues that are of concern to the American people, I believe to the Chinese people, and certainly as well to people around the world.”

The US will “remain engaged with the PRC” to resolve the issue. “The first step is getting the surveillance asset out of our airspace, and that’s what we’re focused on,” said Blinken.

How many spying balloons are out there?

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