A balloon spotted over the skies of Latin America belongs to China and was used for flight tests, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a regular press briefing on Monday, in response to CNN's queries.
This is the first time Beijing has admitted the balloon spotted over two Latin American countries belongs to China.
The balloon “seriously deviated” from its planned course and entered the skies over Latin America and the Caribbean “by mistake” due to weather conditions and limited control ability over the craft, Mao said.
This is the second Chinese balloon Beijing claims has drifted off course due to the weather, after the US military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the continental US for days.
“China is a responsible country. We have always strictly abided by international law. We have informed all relevant parties and appropriately handled the situation, which did not pose any threats to any countries,” Mao said, adding that all parties “expressed their understanding.”
The Colombian Air Force and Costa Rica's Civil Aviation Authority both confirmed that a white observation balloon similar to the one spotted over the US was tracked in their airspace last week, though they did not attribute the vessel to China.