The U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday after it scouted several military sites across North America over the past few days.
The U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday after it scouted several military sites across North America over the past few days in the latest sign of escalating tensions between the two superpowers.
- An F-22 fighter jet took down the balloon with a single missile about six nautical miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at about 2:40pm Eastern time.
- Hours before the shootdown, President Joe Biden told reporters that the government was “going to take care of” the spy balloon.
- After the balloon was knocked out of the sky, Biden said he had issued an order on Wednesday to take the balloon down once it was over open water to minimize the threat of falling debris hitting people on the ground.
- The Pentagon announced Friday a second spy balloon had been spotted over Costa Rica. It’s unknown as of this writing whether the two suspected spy balloons are the only ones in the sky.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a visit to China that was supposed to being on Sunday and include a meeting with Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping. Chinese authorities downplayed the cancelled visit by claiming it had never actually been announced.
- BBC News characterized the spy balloon affair as a “new low” in Sino-American relations. Blinken’s planned visit, the highest-level U.S. delegation to visit China in five years, was supposed to look for ways to deescalate tensions. Instead, the relationship is in “limbo.”
- CNN reported the wreckage from the spy balloon will be taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia for analysis in cooperation with the Department of Defense and counterintelligence experts.
- According to NBC News, the debris field from the downed dirigible is spread out over seven nautical miles in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy ships and divers are expected to recover pieces of the wreckage over the next few days.
- The New York Times characterized the incident as a “slow-moving caper” that “reminded people of balloon episodes past” like the “Balloon Boy” incident from 2009 or when Felix Baumgartner rode a helium balloon to a height of 128,100 feet in 2012.
- National Review argued the balloon incident “should be a wake up call” for the Biden administration and urged them to abandon their plans to pursue a “broader diplomatic thaw” with the Chinese Communist Party.
- The Wall Street Journal reported on the “cycle of provocation and retaliation” the balloon incident has fueled between the United States and China. Previous incidents contributing to tension are China’s aggressive moves towards Taiwan and several close calls between U.S. and Chinese fighter jets in the South China Sea.
- The New York Post reported the Biden administration was aware that a Chinese spy balloon was in U.S. airspace for nearly a week before the public learned about it, but kept it secret to try and preserve Blinken’s China trip. They only fessed up about the balloon and cancelled Blinken’s trip after the Billings Gazette broke the story on Thursday.
© Dominic Moore, 2023