The balloon controversy between China and the United States continued. The United States accused a Chinese spy balloon of violating its airspace, but China claimed that the balloon was a civilian airship and flew into the local area due to force majeure.
President Joe Biden said on February 4 that Washington would "take care" of the balloon, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin later confirmed that the balloon was shot down by U.S. warplanes over the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina.
American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Fox News (Fox News) reported that when Biden went to New York on the 4th, when asked whether the government had plans to shoot down the balloon, he said that Washington would take care of it, but did not disclose details. It was also his first public statement on the incident.
According to the report, as of about 10:30 am on the 4th, Eastern time, the balloon was over Charlotte, North Carolina.
U.S. Department of Defense officials said that the balloon entered the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone on January 28. The Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone found the balloon on the 30th, and it entered and appeared in U.S. airspace again on the 31st. The U.S. military had taken precautionary measures to fly the balloon over The risk of intelligence gathering at sensitive facilities is minimized.
The United States accuses a suspected Chinese spy balloon of violating the border: The picture shows February 1, 2023. This photo obtained by Reuters from social media shows a balloon appearing over Billings, Montana, USA .
The balloon incident may lead to further tension in US-China relations, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned visit to China has been postponed indefinitely.
Republican-controlled states such as Missouri and Montana criticized Biden for being too weak and asked the White House to order the balloon down.
However, many Washington officials are worried that shooting down the balloon rashly may cause harm to the people on the ground.
Operations at three airports temporarily suspended for national security work
The FAA later ordered airports in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and airports in Charleston, North Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, to suspend flights, while commercial aircraft also stopped operations. Flying into South Carolina and a 100-square-mile radius off the Atlantic Ocean is prohibited to support the Department of Defense's national security efforts, but the Department of Defense declined to comment on the news, emphasizing that it continues to track the balloon.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Defense revealed to the media that the U.S. Air Force sent an F-22 fighter jet to shoot down the balloon with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile over the Atlantic Ocean.
According to data from the aircraft tracking website Flightrador24, the aircraft of the US Air Force and Coast Guard flew in the airspace between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, and the authorities also sent ships to the scene to recover the balloon debris and send it to Victoria. Analysis by an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
After the U.S. military sent warplanes to shoot down a Chinese balloon on February 4, Reuters photographers captured what appeared to be the balloon's aftermath in Holden Beach, North Carolina.
Biden: Order to shoot down balloons on February 1
A statement from the U.S. Department of Defense stated that Biden authorized on the 1st to shoot down the balloon under conditions that would not endanger the American people.
The Pentagon also mentioned that China used the balloon involved in an attempt to monitor strategic facilities in the United States.
US media: The Biden administration intends to try to shoot down the balloon, and there are two major plans. The US balloon crisis added media: Canada began to detect where the balloon flew a week ago?
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