Chinese spy balloon finally shot downAnadolu Agency – Getty Images
An F-22 Raptor finally shot down the Chinese spy balloon off South Carolina on Saturday.
The Chinese spy balloon, which China says is a weather device, flew over the continental United States last week in violation of US airspace.
President Joe Biden waited until it was safe to throw the ball, although critics called for more immediate action.
The United States finally shot down the alleged Chinese spy balloon off South Carolina on Saturday afternoon. An F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base shot down the spy balloon with an AIM-9X air-to-air missile at 2:39 p.m. ET, marking the end of a bizarre international episode that has captured the nation’s attention in recent years. years had drawn days.
The US government was actively tracking the high-altitude Chinese spy balloon that flew for five days from Idaho across the continental United States to the Carolinas. With the Chinese spy balloon clearly infiltrating US airspace, President Joe Biden began discussing military options with the Pentagon on Tuesday, before it became a real problem for the general American public, he said. declared. New York Times.
But despite criticism from politicians who urged Biden to order warplanes to shoot down the balloon immediately, especially as it had long hovered over Montana, Biden vowed to take no action until ” the mission could not be conducted without undue risk to American lives.” below the path of the ball,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
Finally, on Saturday morning, Biden told reporters, “we’re going to take care of the spy balloon.” Shortly after, as the balloon hovered off and over the Atlantic, the Federal Aviation Administration closed airspace and grounded flights at several airports in North and South Carolina ahead of the mission.
At 2:39 p.m., one of two F-22 Raptors flying at 58,000 feet fired the AIM-9X missile at the balloon, which was flying between 60,000 and 65,000 feet. At 3 p.m., fighters returned to Langley after successfully downing the balloon, Pentagon official says Just.
“Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always prioritize the safety of the American people while effectively responding to it. [People’s Republic of China’s] unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Austin said in the statement.
According to CBS News, “several Navy and Coast Guard vessels,” including the USS carters room, are collecting debris near the crash site of the balloon, which is believed to have spread “over a field of about seven miles”.
Earlier this week, before the balloon crashed, the Pentagon said US intelligence agencies had “very high confidence” that the spy balloon originated in China and that US officials had worked with their Chinese counterparts “urgently and through multiple channels” to fix it. the balloon problem.
China’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, issued a statement about the spy balloon days before its launch, saying it was a weather device. China claimed responsibility for the balloon’s errant path through US airspace, but called it “Force majeure”-diplomatically speaking, an extraordinary, unforeseeable misfortune:
“The airship comes from China. It is a civilian airship used for research purposes, primarily for meteorological purposes. Influenced by westerly winds and with limited self-piloting capability, the airship drifted off its intended course. Chinese side regrets accidental intrusion of airship into US airspace force majeure. The Chinese side will continue to communicate with the US side and appropriately handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure.”
According to JustUS officials are closely monitoring China’s response to the US government’s launch of the spy balloon and are waiting to see if the Chinese military will retaliate.
We will continue to update this story as new information develops.
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