China not answering Pentagon after balloon downing dangerous: Pentagon
The Biden administration says China not answering the Pentagon's calls after the shooting down of the Chinese balloon is 'really dangerous.'
After a US fighter jet successfully brought down the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon in the US territorial waters, the Chinese military is not answering the Pentagon's calls, and the Biden administration has considered the incident as 'really dangerous,' US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said on Thursday.
"Over the last several months, the PLA [People's Liberation Army] has continued to view the mil-to-mil relationship as something that they turn on and off to express displeasure with other things that are happening in the relationship, we think that's really dangerous," Ratner said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, adding, "We continue to have an outstretched hand, including immediately following the downing of the balloon and unfortunately to date, the PLA is not answering that call."
Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Wednesday that the Pentagon is committed to keeping its communication lines open with China despite the latter refusing a phone call from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin following the spur of anti-Chinese sentiment that the Pentagon spread by alleging that China had deliberately breached US airspace and sent research balloons for spying purposes.
US intelligence believes that the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was part of a vast surveillance program of China's People's Liberation Army, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing several US officials.
However, China maintains that the airship was conducting scientific research, and Beijing's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a few days ago via a spokesperson that the country regretted the unintended breach of US airspace.
The spokesperson said that the device had strayed away from its planned course due to force majeure.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that "China... never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country," adding that "some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China."
This came ahead of a scheduled visit to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken intended to ease the tensions between the two countries.
The Financial Times reported that Blinken canceled his trip to Beijing over the incident, hours before he was supposed to depart for China.
Later on, the Pentagon said the Chinese research balloon that accidentally breached US airspace on Thursday poses no threat to people on the ground.
Ryder told a press conference that the balloon was a surveillance balloon, adding, "We do assess at this time that it does not pose a physical threat to people on the ground."
Read: US to keep, study and 'exploit' Chinese 'spy' balloon debris: Sullivan
Today, Japan announced that it is analyzing several unidentified aerial objects spotted over the past few years flying over the country.
As pictures buzzed on social media by locals who viewed a mysterious balloon-like object flying over northern Japan back in June 2020, authorities expressed baffled behavior.
While Japan’s meteorological agency rushed to explain that the floating device did not belong to it, the Japanese government ruled out any suggestions saying it may belong to a foreign government. However, recent events have raised some serious questions and prompted a re-evaluation.