Beijing on Monday urged Washington not to escalate tension or take further action to harm the nation's interests in response to the shooting down of an unmanned civilian Chinese airship that entered US airspace unintentionally.
"China firmly opposes and strongly protests against this," Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said in remarks to the US embassy in Beijing.
"The US' actions have seriously impacted and damaged both sides' efforts and progress in stabilising Sino-US relations since the Bali meeting," he said, according to a foreign ministry statement, referring to a summit between presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in November.
Xie also said he lodged a formal complaint with the US embassy over the “US attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force”.
The nation would “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely safeguard China’s interests and dignity and reserve the right to make further necessary responses," he added.
The US military said on Sunday it is searching for remnants of what they suspect to be a surveillance balloon it shot down a day earlier.
The US Navy is working to recover the balloon and its payload and the Coast Guard is providing security for the operation, General Glen VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, said on Sunday.
A US fighter jet shot down the balloon in the Atlantic off South Carolina on Saturday, a response Beijing described as an "obvious overreaction". (Agencies)
Last updated: 2023-02-06 HKT 12:05