China angered over US response to shoot down balloon

February 6, 2023

Chinese leaders are expressing anger over the U.S. decision to shoot down its balloon that traveled over American airspace, warning of possible responses to the action.

The comments were shared in a statement from China's Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

China's response

"China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force," the Foreign Ministry said. "The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the U.S. due to force majeure was totally unexpected.

"The Chinese side has clearly asked the U.S. side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner," it added. "The spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Defense also noted that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground."

The controversy

"The Pentagon and other U.S. officials say it was a Chinese spy balloon — about the size of three school buses — that moved east over America at an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,600 meters). The U.S. says it was being used for surveillance and intelligence collection, but officials have provided few details," the Associated Press reported.

"U.S. defense and military officials said Saturday that the balloon entered the U.S. air defense zone north of the Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28 and moved over land across Alaska and into Canadian airspace in the Northwest Territories on Jan. 30. The next day it crossed back into U.S. territory over northern Idaho. U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic," it added.

The U.S. military shot down the balloon, but not until it was over the Atlantic Ocean after passing through South Carolina.

Trump slams Biden and China over balloon

Former President Donald Trump used the incident to attack China and the Biden administration in a Truth Social post.

"The Chinese Balloon situation is a disgrace, just like the Afghanistan horror show, and everything else surrounding the grossly incompetent Biden Administration," Trump wrote.

Trump has also denied claims that similar balloons flew over U.S. airspace when he was in office.

The balloon is now down but the matter continues to add much controversy related to national security and China.

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