China Says They’ve Spotted Spy Balloons In China Too

( )- China has consistently denied that the balloon that they flew over the U.S. last week was a spy balloon, insisting multiple times that it was a weather balloon that just drifted off course.

Yet, strangely enough, an official with the Chinese government fired back at the U.S. on Monday, saying America has flown a high-altitude balloon “more than 10 times” over Chinese airspace just in the last year.

This claim was made by Wang Wenbin, who serves as one of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokespeople. He said the balloons from the U.S. “illegally overflew Chinese airspace” without first getting approval from the appropriate Chinese government departments.

He didn’t elaborate on what any of that meant, though, or provide any additional information about the balloons and what China thought the U.S. was trying to do with them. Wenbin also said it was a “common occurrence” for those balloons to be operating in the airspaces of other countries.

The comments that Wang made came just nine days after the United States shot down a balloon that it determined to be a Chinese spy balloon. The balloon flew over Alaska and then parts of Canada before making its way over the mainland of the U.S.

The U.S. military waited to shoot down the balloon until it was over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina to minimize the potential of hurting people or damaging infrastructure, and to also give them the best chance possible to retrieve the balloon parts to analyze them.

In his comments about the U.S. flying balloons over China, Wang stuck to the company line that the Chinese balloon the U.S. shot down was just doing meteorological research, and had flown off its intended course.

He further said the responses that China issued after the country found that the United States was flying balloons overhead were “responsible and professional.”

Again, he didn’t elaborate on what that meant exactly.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. State Department vehemently denied the claims Wang made. A spokesperson for the department told Newsweek recently:

“Any claim that the U.S. government operates surveillance balloons over the [People’s Republic of China] is false. It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, connected to the People’s Liberation Army, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and over 40 countries across five continents.”

The spokesperson continued to explain:

“This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control. It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the United States was a weather balloon and to this day has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of others.”

Since that first balloon was shot down, the U.S. Air Force has done the same to three more unidentified objects that were flying over North America. Two of those happened over U.S. airspace, while one happened over Canadian airspace.