US Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon Off Carolina Coast

In a rare occurrence, the US military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon on Sunday. The balloon was seen traversing over sensitive military sites across North America and was shot down near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, after President Joe Biden issued the order.

Previous Incursions Not Detected in Real-Time

Citing top military commanders, the New York Times reported that previous incursions by Chinese spy balloons during the Trump administration were not detected in real-time. Some of these aerial incursions were designated as “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” or UAPs, a term used by the US military to designate UFOs. Chinese Spy Balloon Spotted Over US Skies, Fighter Jets Stand Ready

Chinese Spying Finally Classified

It is not clear when the Pentagon determined that the incidents involved Chinese spying, however, officials kept the information secret to avoid letting China know that their surveillance efforts were uncovered. General Glen D. VanHerck, the commander of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, said that US intelligence figured out that some of the unexplained incidents were in fact spy balloons based on “additional means of collection.”

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Balloon Approaches Atlantic Coast

The giant white orb was spotted on Saturday morning over the Carolinas as it approached the Atlantic coast. An F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was about 6 nautical miles off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The debris landed in 47 feet of water, shallower than officials had expected, and spread out over roughly seven miles.

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Biden Orders Balloon to Be Shot Down

President Biden issued the order to shoot the balloon but had wanted it to be shot down even earlier. He was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, and military officials determined that bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

China Responds to Overreaction Criticism

China responded to the incident by reserving the right to “take further actions” and criticizing the US for “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

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