Chinese balloon shot down by the United States: Beijing “reserves the right” to retaliate

The Chinese spy balloon just after being shot down by the US Air Force. RANDALL HILL/REUTERS

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong displeasure” on Sunday after the United States shot down the Chinese balloon that had been hovering over their soil for several days.

Beijing expressed itsstrong dissatisfactionon Sunday after the United States shot down the Chinese balloon that had been flying over its soil for several days, and said it was “reserve the rightto reply.

The operation carried out on Saturday by an F-22 fighter plane took placeover water off the coast of South Carolina, in US airspacesaid US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement. He pointed out that it was carried out in response to a “unacceptable violation” of the “sovereigntyAmerican.

China expresses strong dissatisfaction and protests against US use of force“said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. Washington has “clearly overreacted» and has «seriously violated international practices“, according to the same source.

The Pentagon says it was a spy balloon. The ball “was used by the People’s Republic of China in an attempt to monitor strategic sitesin the United States, said Lloyd Austin.

Joe Biden praised the pilots who led “with success» this delicate operation. He said he had given the order on Wednesday to shoot down “as soon as possible“the ball, but that the Pentagon wanted to wait”the safest place to do it» in order to avoid any damage to the ground when any debris falls. The move was also welcomed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Together (…) we will continue to protect and defend ourselves“, he said in a tweet on Saturday.

TO HAVE ALSO – US shot down Chinese ‘spy’ balloon

A “civilian aircraft”, according to Beijing

Recovery operations, which may involve divers, were now underway. The debris is in shallow water, “this will make things quite easysaid a senior military official. On videos broadcast by television channels on Saturday, the ball appeared to fall vertically after an impact. At the time of being shot down, the balloon was about 18 kilometers above sea level and 11 kilometers from the coast, according to Pentagon officials.

Shortly before, air traffic had been suspended at three airports in the southeastern United States as a measure “national security“, had announced the regulator of the American civil aviation (FAA). It was one airport in North Carolina and two in South Carolina. Traffic resumed shortly after the operation ended.

According to Pentagon officials, the balloon first entered US airspace on January 28 over Alaska, before entering Canada on January 30, then re-entering airspace. American in Idaho, in the northwestern United States, on January 31, i.e. Tuesday.

The Chinese balloon just after being hit by the US Air Force. RANDALL HILL/REUTERS

Beijing acknowledged that the device had come from China, but assured that it was a “civil aircraft, used for research purposes, mainly meteorological“. This one would havedeviated from its trajectory“added a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressing the”regret“of his country for this violation”involuntaryof US airspace.

On Friday, the Pentagon said a second Chinese balloon had been spotted over Latin America. Of the “Chinese surveillance balloons passed briefly over the United States at least three times during the previous administration, and once at the beginning of this administration as far as we know, but never for so long“Said a senior US official on Saturday.

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