Beijing accuses US of sending balloons into airspace

China has accused the United States of “illegally” flying high-altitude balloons into its airspace more than 10 times since January 2022, claims that drew an immediate rebuttal from the White House, as bilateral tensions flare in the fallout from a Chinese balloon that was shot down by American fighter jets after traveling across the continental US.

The accusation, made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry without evidence, comes less than a day after China said it was preparing to shoot down an unidentified object flying near its eastern coast.

At a regular news conference Monday, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed it is “common for US balloons to illegally enter other countries’ airspace.”