Beijing, February 18 – Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that a Chinese air balloon that crashed on a military base in Taiwan was a meteorological balloon without audio and video recording equipment.
On Thursday, the island’s defense ministry issued a report that debris, likely a Chinese meteorological balloon, had been found on the grounds of a military base on Dongen Island, part of the Taipei-controlled Matsu Archipelago. On the fragments of a sphere with a diameter of about a meter, the Taiwanese military found the inscriptions “Taiyuan Radio Plant LLC”, “Digital Meteorological GTS13”, “Meteorological Instrument”. All inscriptions were created in the simplified characters used in mainland China.
“The wreckage of the airship, which was recently discovered by the Donjin Military Region Command, was analyzed by a special team formed by the Ministry of Defense. It is a meteorological probe without audiovisual recording equipment,” the agency’s website said in a statement.
It is noteworthy that the balloon was equipped with an antenna, temperature and humidity sensors, a data transmitter and a lithium battery.
The US military has shot down four aerial targets in recent days, including a Chinese zeppelin that crossed the United States and intercepted it over the Atlantic Ocean. In Washington they say that the airship was launched for the purpose of espionage, in Beijing they say that we are talking about a missing civil weather balloon. The affiliation and purpose of the other three objects that were dropped the other day were not determined.
The situation around Taiwan escalated dramatically after a visit to the island in early August last year by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. China, which considers the island one of its provinces, condemned Pelosi’s visit, seeing in this move the United States’ support for Taiwanese separatism, and conducted large-scale military exercises.
Official relations between the central government of the People’s Republic of China and its island province ceased in 1949 after Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT forces were defeated in a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party, and moved to Taiwan. Commercial and informal contacts between the island and mainland China resumed in the late 1980s. Since the early 1990s, the parties have started contacting through NGOs – the Beijing Association for the Development of Relationships Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taipei Foundation for Cross-Strait Exchanges.