UPDATE: On Saturday, the U.S. military used a projectile fired from a fighter jet to bring down the balloon. The balloon had traveled across the continental United States by that time. Once it cleared the eastern coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, fighter jets were dispatched to circle the balloon, firing on it where debris would fall into the Atlantic Ocean. A recovery ship was also in the area to collect the debris for evaluation. China continued to deny that the balloon was on a surveillance mission. China says the vessel was tracking weather conditions and floated off course.
On Wednesday, the United States spotted a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over American airspace. The large white balloon was drifting at high altitude above Montana. That area is home to several nuclear sites. China said that it would look into those reports. On Friday morning, a Chinese spokesperson suggested the balloon was a scientific vessel blown off course, not a device for spying. The balloon further strained already tense relations between Beijing and Washington.
The balloon was likely flying over sensitive sites. However, the Pentagon chose not to shoot it down. Military officials expressed concern that falling debris might injure people on the ground.
The news came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to make his first trip to Beijing this weekend. The visit had not yet been formally announced. A senior defense official said Friday that the trip has been postponed due to the violation of U.S. airspace, sovereignty, and international law. However, the official also says that Blinken will travel to China “at the earliest opportunity when conditions allow.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning claims China has “no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country.” She urged calm while the facts are established.
Blinken would be the highest-ranking member of President Joe Biden’s administration to visit China. He seeks to mitigate a downturn in relations between the countries. Tensions have risen amid trade disputes and concerns about China’s increasingly aggressive stance toward Taiwan, democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and activity in the South China Sea.
A senior defense official said Thursday that the United States has “very high confidence” that the object was a Chinese high-altitude balloon and that it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. Montana is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base. That is one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
The defense official also said that the balloon has “limited” value in terms of providing intelligence. The intelligence it gathers could likely be obtained by other technologies, such as spy satellites.
It was not clear what will happen with the balloon if it isn’t brought down.
Mao says China is working to understand the situation. The country hopes “that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully.”
Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder says similar balloon activity has been seen in the past several years. He reports that the government took steps to ensure no sensitive information was stolen. He also says the balloon poses no threat to commercial aircraft. It is traveling well above the height that airplanes fly.
President Biden was briefed. He asked the military to present options, according to a senior administration official. The United States did prepare fighter jets, including F-22s, to shoot down the balloon if ordered. But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised against that action. They cited risks to the safety of people on the ground. President Biden accepted their recommendation.
The balloon was over a sparsely populated area. But its size could create a debris field large enough to put people at risk.
The balloon could be seen drifting in and out of clouds. It has what appears to be a solar array hanging from the bottom, says photographer Larry Mayer of The Billings Gazette.
The balloon’s appearance adds to national security concerns among American lawmakers. They are wary of China’s influence in the United States. Their concerns range from the prevalence of the hugely popular smartphone app TikTok to purchases of American farmland.
(The United States is tracking a high-altitude balloon that was spotted over Billings, Montana, on February 1, 2023. The balloon is believed to be Chinese and may be a surveillance device. Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)
that is creepy.
What their asking for is a
What their asking for is a Nutella in the face.
They will get one if the keep
They will get one if the keep doing this. But I hope another president is here by the time we do that.
Nuke not Nutella. Sorry
Nuke not Nutella. Sorry stupid auto correct.
I think it is dumb that they are just letting it keep drifting around and spying on us! I heard one of the Pentagon official guys speaking and he said that they knew it was a Chinese spy balloon and that it was invaded our airspace, but he was just going to leave it at that. They pretty much aren't going to do anything about it, which goes to show how bad our country is really getting to be.
The issue is
Balloons are filled with something
If they shoot or nuke it down
What happens if its filled with something (covid spores or something worse)
Saw this on the adult news
My other question
What's he difference from spy balloon versus a Alexa?
@ Z B
I totally agree with you. and also wanted to say how they are almost letting it pass even though they have seen it over the past several years (and that was Pentagon!)
NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!!
NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!! Well we certainly should do SOMETING about it. We cant just leave that thing up there. Who knows what China put in that thing
This is really weird, I saw a pic of the explosion on my moms phone. Now China is saying that a weather balloon blew off corse.
Um... That's really off corse! My mom just pointed out this fact to me, whatever we blame China for, it really Xisi t the people of China, but the rulers of China. That's why we have Chinese immigrants. They are escaping that oppression.
So when we blame China for things we need to remember that it's not the people of China, but the rulers of China.
Well great they finally shot
Well great they finally shot it down AFTER it traveled across the entire United States! They shot it down off the coast of South Carolina.
Ehh... did anyone watch the
Ehh... did anyone watch the State of the Union address last night? @_@
I saw part of it from the WORLDWatch story they did on it..."@_@" is right
WHY ON EARTH DID THEY LEAVE A SPY BALLOON IN THE AIR TO JUST KEEP DOING WHAT IT'S DOING????
If any of you have read the Left Behind the Kids series by Tim LaHaye, you kinda wish the world was like the way he wrote it instead of how it is now... and that's freaky.
I haven't watched it yet but I intend to. I