Saturday afternoon, two US Air Force fighter aircraft shot down the balloon off the coast of North Carolina.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed Saturday that US military fighter planes shot down the alleged Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the US East Coast.
The Chinese government stated on Saturday that President Biden’s decision to fire down the spy balloon that crossed America was an “excessive reaction,” and that China “retains the right to retaliate further.”
China maintains that the balloon was a “civilian airship” and not the espionage device the US described it to be and added that the US’s move to destroy its property “seriously breaches international convention,” according to a statement obtained by The New York Times.
“In these circumstances, the United States’ insistence on utilizing armed force is plainly a disproportionate reaction that significantly breaches international convention,” according to the statement.
“China will tenaciously protect the enterprise’s lawful rights and interests, and reserves the right to respond further.”
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The white sphere, the size of three school buses, had spent eight days in the country and traversed more than 4,000 miles of American land by the time it deflated and crashed into the ocean.
Biden revealed that the Pentagon was aware of the balloon since it entered US airspace, but chose to keep their knowledge of it hidden in order to protect the Chinese-American relationship ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
China confirmed officially on Friday that the balloon was a “civilian airship utilised for study, primarily meteorological research,” and that it had “deviated considerably from its original trajectory.”
The balloon’s incursion into American airspace was unintentional, according to the country.