QCOSTARICA – You have most likely heard about the Chinese spy balloon that entered U.S. airspace last week. Well, it appears another balloon flew over Costa Rica, to which Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto) confirmed that China apologized for the flyover on Thursday, February 2, according to La Nación.
The balloon, which the U.S. Pentagon said it too was a spy balloon, could be seen from different parts of the country, which generated confusion in many.
#NOW: The Pentagon confirms there is a second Chinese balloon over Latin America.
“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” the Pentagon says.
Eyewitnesses saw the balloon over Costa Rica.
— Cristina Corujo (@cristina_corujo) February 4, 2023
Through its embassy in San José, China offered an apology to Costa Rica for the incident, noting that the object was civil and had scientific purposes in the area of meteorology. It also indicated that it did not represent a threat to the country.
Here is a video I took from the street. @SilvaRecord
I initially did not think it was a balloon since the wind was around 45 knots and the object remained still for a long time. But yes, it was confirmed a balloon. pic.twitter.com/I60KGTkWjC
— UAP Costa Rica (@UAP_CR) February 3, 2023
“The Embassy (of China) reiterated that the balloon that was observed from various parts of the national territory was of a civilian nature and had scientific, mainly meteorological, purposes.
“In addition, it was ensured that the object did not represent any threat to any country and its presence in Costa Rica was due to the fact that it suffered a deviation from the scheduled route due to weather conditions and limited self-direction capacity,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement to La Nacion.
The Foreign Ministry added that “its mission is to safeguard national sovereignty, demanding that the international community unrestricted respect for international law, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.”
Carlos Cascante, an international relations expert from the Universidad Nacional (UNA), stated that it is common for this type of apology to occur since permits are required for a flyover.
Last week, a similar balloon was spotted in the United States, which was shot down on Saturday by the U.S. off the coast of North Carolina, considering it a spy object.
With respect to Latin America, on Monday, China confirmed that the balloon was its property and attributed it to an accident. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, said in a statement “due to weather forces and its limited maneuverability, the airship seriously deviated from its scheduled route” and “accidentally entered the airspace of Latin America and the Caribbean”.
What China attributes to an accident has caused tension in relations with the United States. Even after the detection of the first balloon that flew over the United States, the White House reacted by canceling a trip to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.