A US fighter jet downed a Chinese balloon the size of three buses off the coast of South Carolina over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, experts are examining the wreckage.
In American territorial waters, the Associated Press writes, an operation is underway to extract the wreckage of the ball. Lloyd Austin claims that the balloon was used by China in an attempt to control strategic installations in the continental United States. A statement released by the Pentagon said a US fighter jet shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina in response to an “unacceptable violation” of US sovereignty.
It is noted that US President Joe Biden gave his consent to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday if this mission can be completed without endangering the lives of American citizens. The decision came after US officials said Saturday that President Joe Biden’s administration would advance its plan to shoot down a spy balloon that flew over South Carolina that day. “I had him shot down on Wednesday,” Biden says.
Biden previously said the US would “deal” with the balloon, without giving details. Some time later, when the reporters asked him if he would give the order for a takedown, he limited himself to a “positive” nod with a thumbs up.
The FAA said it has closed three airports in North and South Carolina and has banned civilian aircraft from flying over 100 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of South Carolina. In a document posted on its website, the FAA warned that the military could use “deadly force” if planes violated those restrictions and failed to follow orders to withdraw.
Many South Carolina residents, including Greenville, Spartanburg, and the North Carolina suburb of Charlotte, witnessed the moment the spy balloon was shot down. writes CNN Greece.
Meanwhile, Beijing said it was “very dissatisfied” and claimed it was a meteorological ship that had gone astray. The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “strong displeasure and protest” over the US shooting down of their balloon, which they believed to be a spy balloon, the BBC reports, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry:
“The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the American side after checking that the balloon is intended for civilian use and entered the United States due to force majeure.”
As our publication reported, balloon detection sparked a diplomatic crisis that resulted in US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceling a trip to China. The US State Department announced the decision to postpone Blinken’s planned trip to China due to an incident with a balloon, which was considered to be launched for reconnaissance purposes:
“We have taken note of the PRC’s statement in which they expressed their regret, but the presence of this balloon in our airspace is a clear violation of sovereignty and international law. And that this happened is unacceptable.”
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