Chinese spy balloon in the US – Downing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ reaction and airports closure
Defence Redefined
Published on 05/02/2023 at 12:01

The US shot down on Saturday night the Chinese balloon that had been flying in the country’s airspace for days, the Pentagon announced. A US fighter jet shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina in response to the “unacceptable violation” of US sovereignty, the statement said.

The Ministry clarified that US President, Joe Biden, had given his approval for the downing since Wednesday, as long as this mission could be carried out without endangering the lives of US citizens. In his statement Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, asserts that this balloon was used by China in an attempt to monitor strategic locations in the continental US and that it was shot down within US territorial waters.

In the footage broadcast by Fox News and CNN, the balloon can be seen losing altitude and falling vertically. Earlier, the airspace in this area had been closed to civilian aircraft and flights to and from three airports in North and South Carolina had been suspended for security reasons. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the airspace has reopened and flights will resume as normal.

Earlier, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, to inform him of the postponement of his visit to China, citing irresponsible action and a clear violation of US sovereignty. Beijing expressed its regret for this “unintentional” entry of the balloon into US airspace, claiming that it serves “research purposes, mainly meteorological”.

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