UNITED STATES: Tensions have escalated between the United States and China after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down by a US fighter jet over the Atlantic Coast on February 4th.
US fighter jet shot down Chinese balloon over Myrtle beach
According to Air Force General Glen VanHerck, the balloon was approximately 200 feet tall, and the attached payload weighed a couple of thousand pounds.
In a press conference, General VanHerck spoke about the potential hazards posed by the balloon, including the glass on its solar panels, materials required for the batteries to operate in a harsh environment, and even the possibility of explosives.
He did not rule out the possibility of explosives on the balloon, which reportedly played a role in the decision to shoot it down over open water.
The head of the US Northern Command (NORCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has expressed concerns over the potential hazards of large debris falling from the sky.
He spoke about the “domain awareness gap” that the US needs to figure out, as these high-altitude spy balloons have briefly flown over the US undetected at least three times in the past six years.
General VanHerck also did not rule out the possibility of explosives on the balloon, which reportedly played a critical role in his decision to shoot it over open water.
The US has recovered some remnants from the surface of the sea and will be able to examine the debris better in the upcoming days. The incident has caused an uproar in the US and has prompted the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to postpone his scheduled unofficial trip to China.
The relations between the two countries have become strained, and White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated that the incident had done nothing to improve the already escalating tensions. However, US President Joe Biden stated that they made it clear to China what they would do and did the right thing.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added that Washington’s approach to relations with Beijing would remain calm, and it’s up to China to figure out what kind of relationship they want. China, on the other hand, has accused the US of using “indiscriminate force” and overreacting, warning about “serious repercussions”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated that the balloon is not American and that the Chinese government will defend its legitimate rights and interests.
The search for debris from the suspected Chinese spy balloon is underway as the incident raises international tensions and raises questions about the safety and security of US airspace.
Also Read: President Joe Biden Challenges Republicans on Debt and Economy