US Navy working to recover debris from Chinese ‘spy balloon’ | Political News

The ship, which Beijing said was a misdirection balloon, was shot down in the Atlantic Ocean.

The US Navy is working to recover the debris of a Chinese spy balloon that fell into the Atlantic Ocean after it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina over the weekend.

General Glen VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the US Northern Command, said the hot air balloon, which has been flying at high altitudes over North America since late January, had been damaged. shot down in US airspace and fell into US territorial waters.

“Our U.S. Navy component is currently conducting recovery operations, with the U.S. Coast Guard assisting in protecting the area and maintaining public safety,” VanHerck said in a statement. Dad on Sunday.

The US said earlier that the balloon was about the size of three school buses and that the debris had spread 11km (7 miles) over the ocean.

The incident further strained relations between the US and China with Washington cancel Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Beijing after the discovery of the ship.

Beijing said the unmanned “balloon” was used for meteorological research and was blown up due to bad weather and its “limited” maneuverability.

Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, on Sunday said the shooting down of the hot air balloon, which was flying at an altitude of about 18,300 meters (60,000 ft) before it was shot down was an “outrageous response.” it is obvious”.

Mr. Tan added that China will reserve the right to take necessary measures to deal with similar situations.

The balloon first entered US airspace over Alaska on January 28, before moving into Canadian airspace on January 30. It then re-entered US airspace north of Idaho on January 31. .

Canada also confirmed the presence of hot air balloons in its airspace.

surveillance balloons — often equipped with a downward facing, high-tech imaging device — offers the opportunity to monitor locations at a closer range than satellites and can provide clearer images than moving satellites fast.

Although their movements are often dependent on weather patterns, they can also be equipped with a “navigation device” to control their path.

The US says Chinese hot air balloons are flying over sensitive locations in Montana to gather information, and the recovery of what’s left could give the US clues about China’s surveillance capabilities.

Montana is the home of Malmstrom Air Force Basewhere there are about 150 bunkers for intercontinental ballistic missiles, including the Minuteman III capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate would be briefed on the incident, including details of the balloon’s surveillance capabilities this week, adding that President Joe’s administration Biden is considering measures against the Chinese for their “blatant activities”.

Republicans in Congress have criticized Biden for not acting sooner.

The president said he approved the order to shoot down the plane last week but was advised that it would be best to carry out the operation on the water because lowering the balloon over land from 18,300 meters (60,000 ft) would cause undesirable consequences. risk to the people below.

Mike Turner, a Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said: “Clearly this is an effort by China to gather information, to defeat their command and control. for our sensitive nuclear weapons and missile defense sites. “And that’s certainly an urgency that this administration doesn’t recognize.”

“It is defiant to believe that there is nowhere” between Alaska and the Carolinas where the United States can safely shoot down a hot air balloon, said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.


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