The United States recovered the first debris from the Chinese balloon shot down on Saturday, a White House spokesman said on Monday February 6, adding that there was no question of returning them to China.
Teams deployed off the coast of South Carolina, in the southeast of the country, "
recovered some debris from the surface of the sea
", said John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council of the executive. American, during an interview with the press.
He specified that the “
” had not made it possible so far to carry out underwater operations to recover this aircraft, presented as a spy balloon by Washington.
Read alsoSpy balloon: China and the United States, two edgy giants
John Kirby also indicated that the United States did not "
intend to return
" the debris collected to China.
General Glen VanHerck, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad), said a US Navy ship was surveying the radius in which the debris fell.
The balloon itself was about 60 meters high and carried a kind of basket weighing more than a ton, the official said at a separate press conference.
The debris will be carefully studied, added the general.
"Pick up the phone"
While US President Joe Biden is criticized by the Republican opposition for having, according to them, taken too long to bring down the device, John Kirby assured that this delay had given Americans "
a tremendous opportunity to better understand and study
the balloon, waiting for the debris to deliver further information.
He also assured that the United States had “
taken measures to limit the collection capabilities (data) that this balloon would have had above our sensitive military sites.
Read alsoStealth, autonomy, mobility: what you need to know about the Chinese spy balloon shot down by the United States
Finally, John Kirby said that the Biden administration had "
contacted senior officials from the previous administration and offered them briefings
" about the Chinese balloon overflights that took place while Donald Trump was president.
According to the Pentagon, Chinese balloons flew over American territory three times, for brief periods, during the presidency of Donald Trump, and once, also for a short time, at the start of Joe Biden's mandate.
State Department spokesman Ned Price also assured Monday that the United States had had contact with the Chinese authorities since the downing of the balloon but specified that no "
" had taken place .
on the rescheduling of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to China.
Even in these times of heightened tensions, we want to be able to pick up the phone and chat
," he told reporters, reiterating that the United States wanted to "
" a dialogue with Beijing.
He further specified that the United States was in contact with its allies and partners to inform them of the information collected around the alleged Chinese spy balloon.