The Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, claimed during a daily briefing, however, offered no evidence to back it up. The accusation comes nine days after the US military shot down a Chinese spy balloon crossing from Alaska to South Carolina.
US Denies Chinese Accusation
White House national security spokesman John Kirby and National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson denied China's accusation. Kirby stated that the claim that the US government operates surveillance balloons over China is false and that China has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection. Watson added that the Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by the US was connected to the People's Liberation Army and used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 countries.
China Doubles Down on Accusation
Wang doubled down on the accusations, alleging that the US has a more sophisticated surveillance network. He added that the US knows how many surveillance balloons it has sent into the skies in the world, and it's clear to the global community which country is the number one spy empire in the world.
Tensions Escalate Between US and China
The shooting down of the Chinese balloon added to the tensions between the two powers, who were already at their lowest level in decades. Following the balloon incident, Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned visit to Beijing. The US has since placed economic restrictions on six Chinese entities linked to Beijing's aerospace programs. The House of Representatives also voted unanimously to condemn China for violating US sovereignty.