More than 10 such incidents dealt with responsibly, professionally since last year
China said on Monday that high-altitude balloons from the United States had flown over its airspace more than 10 times since the beginning of last year without permission from Chinese authorities.
"It is not an uncommon thing for U.S. balloons to illegally enter other countries' airspace," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, noting that China has dealt with the U.S. balloons in a responsible and professional way.
Wang made the remarks at a regular news briefing in Beijing as Washington continued dramatizing the accidental entry of a Chinese civilian airship into its airspace.
In one of the latest moves after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese airship earlier this month, the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security said on Friday that it has blacklisted six Chinese entities that it said were linked to Beijing's aerospace programs, including those involving airships and balloons.
Wang said: "We strongly deplore and oppose this. China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and organizations."
He added that Washington is using the illegal unilateral sanctions against Chinese institutions to play up the situation.
China urges the U.S. to appropriately handle accidents caused by force majeure in a calm, professional and restrained manner, Wang said, noting that the two sides are maintaining necessary communication.
The spokesman reiterated Beijing's firm opposition to Washington's overreaction by using force to deal with the Chinese airship, saying that it is the U.S. that has been abusing its technological advantages to conduct large-scale, indiscriminate surveillance and theft of secrets across the world, including against its allies.
Given such infringements on other countries' sovereignty and interests, which also violate international law and basic norms governing international relations, Wang said no country has a better claim to the titles of spy state and surveillance state than the U.S..
He also mentioned Washington's frequent close-in surveillance around China, which seriously threatens China's national security and undermines regional peace and stability.
"The U.S. side should check on its own behavior, instead of smearing others and instigating confrontation," Wang said.
According to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a Beijing-based think tank, U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flew 657 missions to the South China Sea last year and 64 such flights in January this year.