A Chinese spy balloon is seen before it is shot down off the coast of South Carolina. Photo/Travis Huffstetler/REUTERS
WASHINGTON – The head of the United States (US) Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck acknowledged there were allegations that the “Chinese reconnaissance balloon” that the US shot down on Saturday could have carried explosives to destroy itself and its payload.
VanHerck made this statement to Politico on Monday (6/2/2023).
VanHerck also confirmed previous reports that a similar balloon had entered US airspace undetected.
VanHerck told Politico reporter Lara Seligman that the balloon was up to 61 meters high, and carried “over several thousand pounds” of payload.
Also read: The US Shoots Down Chinese Balloons with an F-22 Stealth Jet That’s Ridiculous, Beijing May Laugh
The general added, “The balloon has the potential to carry explosives to detonate and destroy the balloon if necessary.”
The balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Sunday, a week after entering US airspace.
“U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on the balloon’s journey Tuesday,” said a White House statement, though Biden did not publicly acknowledge its existence until Thursday, a day after the balloon was seen by residents in the sky over Montana.
The president claims he originally ordered the balloon to be shot down above the ground, but the Pentagon refused due to safety concerns.
China denies accusations the balloons are for espionage, Washington says.
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