Colombia says 'object' spotted overhead after Chinese balloon warning

BOGOTA - Colombia said an “object” had overflown its territory after Washington warned that a suspected Chinese spy balloon similar to the one shot down off the US coast had been spotted over Latin America.

The Colombian Air Force said the object with “characteristics similar to those of a balloon” was detected on Friday and “monitored until it left the national airspace”.

The object flew at an altitude of 55,000 feet (17,000m) and an average speed of 46kmh, said an air force statement on Saturday.

It added the object “did not constitute a threat to national security and defence or to aviation security”.

The air force said it was conducting investigations in coordination with other countries and institutions “to establish the origins of the object”.

A US fighter jet on Saturday shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, denouncing an “unacceptable violation”.

The craft spent several days flying over North America, ratcheting up tensions between Washington and Beijing, which said it was a weather balloon blown off course.

Another suspected Chinese spy balloon was seen over Latin America, the Pentagon said on Friday, without providing details.

No other Latin American country has reported spotting the craft.

Venezuela on Sunday lashed out against “the attack by the United States against a civilian unmanned aircraft of Chinese origin”.

Caracas, under US sanctions, said in a statement: “The United States once again resorts to the use of force rather than treating this situation with the seriousness and responsibility it merits.” AFP

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