On the 4th of February 2023, the U.S. military shot down a Chinese balloon at the coast of Carolina they suspected was capturing sensitive and classified information. The suspected spy balloon was first spotted in the U.S. airspace near Alaska. It was being observed for a while but was decided by the President of USA that it would be best if it was taken down when it was flying over water. It was shot by a missile from an F-22 fighter jet.
China’s response was one that of critique and accused USA of overreacting. They said that the alleged spy balloon was merely a civilian airship whose purpose was to conduct meteorological research and that it had gotten blown astray. Tensions reached to a point where the USA Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken had to cancel his trip, which was of high stakes, to Beijing.
Particulars of the Chinese balloon-
The contents of the balloon that was said to be flying at an altitude of 60,000- 65,000 feet have been identified. Its height was compared to that of Statue of Liberty and it is said to be the size of three buses. The recovered debris shows electronics items like sensors. Investigation is still on as most of the contents are underwater.
Reactions from other countries –
Canada, a neighboring country of USA, issued a statement that said the Chinese spy balloon had transgressed their airspace as well and that they support the decision taken by USA in this regard. Japan, an ally of USA, said that it strongly suspects three Chinese balloons to have entered their territory between the years of 2019-2021.
Since February 4th, the U.S. military that has made the detectors in their airspace more sensitive, has shot down three more objects but have not said anything about them being spy balloons nor their location of origin. Further, USA has sanctioned six entities of China that they said are believed to be associated to the Chinese aerospace programs. More recently, on 15th of February 2023, spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Ministry said that they will take measures against the U.S. for their reaction of shooting down their airship.