In gathering of 150 diplomats, US briefs 40 countries on China balloon

WASHINGTON D.C.: The US has held briefings in Washington and Beijing with foreign diplomats from 40 nations about the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down on last week over US territory.

This week, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman briefed nearly 150 foreign diplomats from 40 embassies, the Washington Post reported.

Also in Beijing, the US embassy briefed foreign diplomats on the findings about the balloon. The State Department sent US missions around the world material to share about the balloon incident with allies and partners.

In addition to causing political outrage in Washington, the Chinese balloon that flew over the US last week forced US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a planned trip to Beijing.

A week after it first entered US airspace, a US Air Force fighter jet shot down the balloon off the South Carolina coast on February 4.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the object was a weather balloon that had blown off course. It then accused the US of overreacting after the balloon was shot down.

In response, Washington said the balloon was controlled by the the People’s Liberation Army, China’s armed forces.

The Washington Post reported that although analysts still do not know the size of China’s balloon fleet, there have been dozens of Chinese missions since 2018.