China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs office acknowledged Monday another surveillance balloon had been identified over the Caribbean and Latin America, after being thrown off course by the weather.
It is the same rationale China cited last week when attempting to justify the existence of a suspected spy balloon traversing through Alaska, western Canada, and through the continental U.S.
"With regard to the balloon over Latin America, it has been verified that the unmanned airship is from China, of civilian nature, and used for flight test," Mao Ning, the ministry office's spokesperson, said.
"Affected by the weather and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course and entered into the airspace of Latin America and the Caribbean," Mao added.
A number of Republican lawmakers expressed doubts about China's weather-related excuse from last week.
There were also many conservative calls to destroy the balloon around that time — or a few days before the Pentagon executed President Joe Biden's order to shoot down the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chinese government was not happy with the U.S. military shooting down the balloon Saturday, claiming the Pentagon did not handle the incident in a "calm, professional, and restrained matter."
"As history shows, it is the U.S. that has repeatedly trampled on international law and violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries," Mao said. "The Chinese side has made it clear that this is entirely an unexpected, isolated incident caused by force majeure.
"The U.S. side's deliberate hyping up of the matter and even use of force are unacceptable and irresponsible."
China also made vague allusions to retaliation against the Biden administration. A day later, though, the Chinese have yet to expand on any supposed threat.
The State Department told reporters Monday there were no immediate plans to reschedule Secretary of State Antony Blinken's trip to Beijing, China.
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