A US F-22 fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon from 58,000 feet with a sidewinder missile. Photo/Collage/Sindonews
WASHINGTON – An Air Force fighter jet United States of America (USA) shot down a reconnaissance balloon China at a high altitude safely. This was disclosed by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin in a written statement.
Austin said President Joe Biden had ordered the action last Wednesday, but delayed until the balloon was in the water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure no Americans were hurt.
“The balloon, which was used by the PRC in an effort to monitor strategic sites on the continental United States, was dropped over US territorial waters,” Austin said as quoted from the US Department of Defense website, Sunday (5/2/2023).
According to Austin, the action was taken in coordination with and support from the Canadian government.
“We thank Canada for its contribution to the tracking and analysis of the balloon through (North American Aerospace Defense Command) while in transit in North America,” Austin said.
“Today’s deliberate and lawful actions demonstrate that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violations of our sovereignty,” Austin continued, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
US officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered US airspace near the Aleutian Islands. The balloon crossed Alaska, Canada and reentered US airspace over Idaho.
“President Biden asked the military for options and on Wednesday President Biden gave his authorization to take down the China reconnaissance balloon as soon as the mission can be completed without undue risk to us civilians down the balloon’s path,” a senior defense official said.
Read: Chinese Balloon Predicted to Leave US East Coast on Saturday
“The military commander determined that there was an undue risk of debris causing damage to civilians while the balloon was on the ground,” he added.
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