U.S. military downs Chinese balloon over Atlantic Ocean
The US Military shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance ballon on Saturday afternoon, February 4, after it flew across sensitive American military sites several days this week.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) closed down airspace over parts of North Carolina and South Carolina on Saturday amid reports that the Biden administration was considering shooting down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon. US leader, Joe Biden had faced calls to shoot down the balloon ever since it was first spotted hovering over Montana on Wednesday February 1, but national security officials had declined to do so, citing concerns that the risk to civilians on the ground from debris outweighs the potential surveillance China could obtain.
On Saturday, as the balloon was spotted over the Carolinas, the FAA ordered all planes in the area to be grounded after reports that Biden was considering a plan to shoot out the balloon as it approached the Atlantic Ocean. Shortly after, the balloon was shot down over the ocean.
The balloon was first spotted near Billings, Montana and continued to travel across the central region of the United States. It was spotted over Missouri Friday evening and m over North Carolina on Saturday.
U.S. authorities have maintained they believe the balloon was intended to conduct surveillance over the U.S.?potentially including a nuclear site in Montana?but China has said it was a weather balloon that was blown off track.
U.S. officials on Friday confirmed a second balloon was spotted over Latin America and were working to confirm that it was a Chinese surveillance balloon.
The situation has further strained relations between the United States and China, which were already tense amid the Russia-Ukraine war and questions about the future of Taiwan's sovereignty.
Due to the breach of territory by the ballon, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a planned trip to Beijing
Republicans had pressed Biden to order the balloon to be knocked out, with former President Donald Trump, who is again running for the Republican party nomination in 2024, urging Biden to "SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!" in a Truth Social post.
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