China’s weather balloon manufacturer denies any connection to the US spy balloon that was shot down. Photo/New York Times
BEIJING – Weather balloon manufacturer China Zhuzhou Rubber Research & Design Institute, said it had nothing to do with the balloon being shot down by United States of America (US) earlier this month.
A unit of Chinese chemical giant ChemChina confirmed that its main line of business is engaged in manufacturing speech balloons from natural latex in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The company also insists that it is not a military company.
“Our product is used for daily weather forecasting by weather stations, and has no relation whatsoever to the so-called and reported US ballooning incident,” the company said in a statement.
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Reuters reports that China’s manufacture of weather balloons is dominated by Zhuzhou Rubber, which makes up 75 percent of the high-altitude balloons used by the China Meteorological Administration.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense released a few days ago an image taken by a pilot as he flew over a Chinese balloon that was shot down earlier this month.
The selfie taken by a US spy plane pilot while flying in a balloon shows the plane’s reflection on the balloon and the cargo it is carrying across America. The existence of the image was reported by CNN.
Read: Pentagon Releases Selfie Photos of US Pilots Showing Chinese Spy Balloons
The spy balloon was initially sighted on January 28 and shot down by the US military off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
Earlier this month, a State Department official said the flyover revealed that the high-altitude balloon was capable of conducting intelligence signal-gathering operations.
The balloon was not shot down over land due to its size and the possible damage it could cause when it hit the ground.
China called the US handling of the balloon incident a “hysterical” and “ridiculous” act that violated international norms.
Read: China Vows Revenge on US over Spy Balloons
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