Image: Twitter video grab
Mexico City: The government of Venezuela has condemned the US decision to shoot down the Chinese balloon in US territorial waters off the coast of South Carolina.
"The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the attack by the United States against an unmanned aircraft of Chinese origin of a civilian nature that had demonstrated technical failure and that did not represent any military or physical threat against the people on the ground," the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a Sunday statement.
The ministry emphasized that Venezuela supports dialogue as a means of peaceful resolution of various conflicts.
"Once again, the United States resorts to the use of force, instead of treating this situation with the seriousness and responsibility that the case deserves," the ministry said.
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the detection of an alleged surveillance balloon from China over the US state of Montana. Beijing stressed that the balloon was a civilian airship engaged in scientific research, mainly meteorological studies, and expressed regret over its unintended entry into US airspace.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that a US fighter aircraft successfully brought down the balloon. A Pentagon spokesperson told journalists on Saturday that US experts had studied the balloon equipment and Washington had no doubt that it was used for surveillance.
On Friday, the US State Department announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not leave for Beijing later in the day as initially planned due to the balloon incident.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed protest on Sunday over the downing of the Chinese balloon, saying that the US reaction to the incident was excessive.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Beijing reserves the right to take further necessary action.
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