Star Wars or how U. S. blew up spy balloon in sky
By Kristina Sobol
Budrigannews.com – A week after it first entered U.S. airspace, a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down by a U.S. military fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, igniting a dramatic and public spying saga that strained relations between China and the United States.
The Pentagon had advised delaying the removal of the balloon until it could be done over open water to protect civilians from debris falling to Earth from thousands of feet (meters) above commercial air traffic, despite President Joe Biden’s claim that he had issued an order to do so on Wednesday.
Biden stated, “I want to compliment our aviators who did it.” “They successfully took it down.”
A senior U.S. military official stated that the mission involved multiple fighter and refueling aircraft, but only one of them, an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, fired at 2:39 p.m. (1939 GMT) with a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile.
The military strike on an airship that, according to China, was used for meteorological and other scientific purposes and had entered U.S. airspace “completely accidentally,” claims that U.S. officials flatly denied, was strongly condemned.
According to a statement released by China’s foreign ministry, “China had clearly asked the U.S. to handle this properly in a calm, professional, and restrained manner.” Evidently overreacting, the United States had insisted on using force.”
According to U.S. officials, the balloon was shot down approximately six nautical miles off the coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean over relatively shallow water, which may have aided efforts to recover parts of the Chinese surveillance equipment in the coming days.
Multiple US military vessels were present, according to a military official, and the debris field was spread out over seven miles (11 kilometers) of ocean.
The U.S. government halted flights into and out of three South Carolina airports—Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston—for what it described at the time as an unidentified “national security effort.” Shortly after that, the balloon was shot down. On Saturday afternoon, flights resumed.
Even though the military aspect of the spying saga has come to an end with the shootout on Saturday, Biden will likely continue to face intense political scrutiny from Republican congressional opponents who claim he did not act quickly enough.
According to a senior administration official, the United States government discussed the incident with China directly following the shooting down of the balloon. According to the official, the State Department also provided information to partners and allies worldwide.
China’s potential knowledge of the balloon’s journey across the United States is still up for debate.
On January 28, the balloon entered Alaskan airspace before entering Canadian airspace on January 30. On January 31, a U.S. defense official reported that it re-entered U.S. airspace over northern Idaho. It did not return to open water once it crossed over U.S. land, making a shootdown difficult.
The balloon’s presence over the United States was not made public by American officials until Thursday.
According to U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (NYSE:), “It’s clear the Biden administration had hoped to hide this national security failure from Congress and the American people.” a Republican who is in charge of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives.
It’s possible that Biden’s emphasis on Saturday that he ordered the balloon to be shot down as soon as possible was a response to such critics.
Biden’s potential rival in the 2024 election, former President Donald Trump, has sought to portray himself as stronger than Biden on China and called earlier this week for the balloon to be shot down. The relationship between the United States and China is likely to be a major focus of the presidential race in 2024.
A U.S. official stated that Washington had informed Beijing about the shootdown on Saturday and deemed the balloon’s appearance to be a “clear violation” of American sovereignty.
Still, officials appeared to downplay the balloon’s impact on U.S. security on Saturday.
“Our assessment was that it was not likely to provide significant additive value over and above other (Chinese) intel capability, such as satellites in low-Earth orbit,” the senior U.S. defense official stated. “We are going to learn more as we pick up the debris.” Witness to the shootout for Reuters claimed that a jet stream struck the balloon, but there was no explosion. Then it started to fall.
According to the Pentagon, the balloon belonged to a group of Chinese spy balloons. It said that another Chinese balloon was over Latin America on Friday.
The official from the United States stated, “Chinese balloons have previously been spotted over countries across five continents, including in East Asia, South Asia, and Europe.” Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, was forced to postpone a trip to China this week that was scheduled to begin on Friday due to the alleged spy balloon.
The decision to postpone Blinken’s trip, which Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to in November, was a blow to those who viewed it as an opportunity to stabilize an increasingly tense relationship between the two countries.
China wants a stable relationship with the United States so it can focus on its economy, which has been harmed by the zero-COVID policy and is being ignored by foreign investors who are concerned about what they see as a return of state intervention in the market.