U.S. military attacks down questioning Chinese surveillance balloon

February 7, 2023: On Sunday, the U.S. military fired down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon transiting all over the country for several days.

On Saturday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated a U.S. fighter aircraft related to U.S. Northern Command brought down the balloon at the direction of Joe Biden. Lloyd then noted that  the balloon was being used by the People’s Republic of China “to surveil strategic sites in the U.S.”

On Wednesday, Biden gave the authorization to take down the balloon sooner “without risking American lives under the balloon’s path,” Lloyd stated.

“By the President’s direction, the Department of Defense developed options for taking down the balloon safely more than our territorial waters while closely which monitors its path and intelligence collection activities,” he said.

TV footage shows the high-altitude balloon, estimated to be the size of three school buses, which bursts in a small explosion before falling into the water. Officials attempt to recover the debris, according to NBC News.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a stop in North Carolina and South Carolina areas and additional airspace on Saturday. The departures are pausing “to support the Defense Department in a national security effort,” a spokesperson stated. Normal operations began resuming that afternoon, the FAA said on Twitter.

Biden broke his silence related to the balloon for the first time Saturday, telling reporters, “We’re going to take care of it.” Later that afternoon, he told the reporters that he had told officials to “shoot it down” but that they were willing to wait until it was safe.

“They took it down successfully, and I want to complement our aviators made it happen,” Biden stated. “And we’ll have more to report on later.”

The balloon was spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday. Defence officials said the Pentagon considered shooting down the balloon but decided against it after briefing Biden. The talk was made in consultation with senior leaders, which includes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The U.S. President further said that the U.S. would not shut down the balloon as the debris from it could cause damage on the floor, a Pentagon official said. Therefore, any information the balloon is collecting would have “limited additive value” compared to China’s spy satellites.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said that the balloon was a civilian weather airship aimed for scientific that was blown off course. It further said that the incident resulted from a “force majeure”, for which it was irresponsible.

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