A senior Chinese ambassador has urged the US to return the pieces of the surveillance balloon that was shot down over the weekend, arguing that doing otherwise would serve as further evidence of the Americans’ conflict deceit.
Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, stated in an interview with the French channel LCI on Monday that, “If a person picks up something on the street and knows who the owner is, he should return it to the owner.”
Lu reiterated the Chinese official’s claim that the gadget was used for civilian meteorological research, not espionage, and accused the US administration of exaggerating the problem.
When Pentagon officials acknowledged that the enigmatic white object had been detected above critical western regions last week, the balloon first made headlines. On February 4, a US fighter jet shot down the device off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Navy officials were able to salvage some of its components.
Lu claims that the US government’s apparent hesitation to give the Chinese the balloon’s wreckage is evidence that the nation is being dishonest in its strained relations with China.
“These balloons are very common. It is not uncommon to see American spy balloons, or balloons used for other purposes.”
According to Lu, local officials have maintained a low profile and avoided creating a stir when American spy balloons have crossed into Chinese airspace. If those gadgets were also shot down, he remained silent about them.
Mao’s most recent comments were made only one day after she revealed in public that China was the owner of the second surveillance balloon sighted above Latin America.
The ongoing debate around the Chinese surveillance balloons comes at a particularly challenging time for relations between the US and China. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his trip to China early this week indefinitely due to the incident’s repercussions.