Mexican president says he denied US request to fly over Mexico due to alleged spy balloon
Mexican government confirms it did not detect balloon
Mexico’s president revealed Wednesday that his government denied entry to US military aircraft which intended to fly over Mexican territory to look for an alleged spy balloon from Asia.
“They spoke from the Pentagon to (Mexico’s secretary of) defense to request permission because they wanted to fly over our airspace with planes and drones of a high military technological level because they had detected a balloon that came from Hawaii and that it was going to pass through Mexico, and they assured that it was a balloon that came from Asia,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in his morning press conference.
"The answer was no. We don't allow those drones and aircraft to enter our airspace," he said.
According to US intelligence, the balloon was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet, 5,000 feet above commercial air traffic, and would be entering the city of Manzanillo on Mexico’s west coast at 3.00 am local time.
Lopez Obrador said that Mexican aviation authorities did not detect the balloon and that the US government did not provide additional information or confirmation of its status.
He said relations between Mexico and the US rely on cooperation, not "subordination" or "submission," which led his government to deny access to its neighbor's aircraft.
Lopez Obrador disclosed the information during questions at his press conference regarding alleged spying by the US on Mexico’s Defense Secretary.
On April 18, Lopez Obrador accused the Pentagon of committing espionage against his government after US intelligence documents were released last month reporting friction between Mexico's Army and Navy over the military's increased powers.
While praising his US counterpart Joe Biden for respecting Mexico's sovereignty and calling him a "friend of Mexico," Lopez Obrador condemned other US agencies and institutions for their continuous interventionist behavior.
The US “has many agencies with a lot of power, and many of these institutions -- I say this respectfully -- do not act with rectitude and act with a lot of arrogance," he said.