Rather than shoot down Chinese balloon, Pentagon will "track and monitor it closely"

February 4, 2023

Many Americans were shocked earlier this week to learn that a Chinese spy balloon had been spotted over Montana, which is home to some 150 nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Yet rather than shoot the balloon down, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder recently said that the military will instead simply "track and monitor it closely."

Pentagon claims balloon is not a threat to air traffic

Montana's KTVQ quoted Ryder as saying that at a press conference on Friday. He added, "Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years.

"Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," Ryder continued.

"The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground," he stressed.

Republican lawmakers have been highly critical of the Biden administration's decision not to shoot down the balloon.

Republicans complain that China has "invaded US airspace"

Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall declared in a tweet on Friday that "President Biden must protect the sovereignty of the U.S. whether it’s our airspace or the southern border."

Missouri Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt was vocal as well, insisting that "we shouldn’t have a Chinese spy balloon floating over the United States of America."

Sen. J.D. Vance mocks White House's failure to shoot down a balloon

What's more, Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran accused China of having "invaded US airspace" and insisted that the White House "needs to take action to address this situation."

Meanwhile, newly elected Ohio Republican Sen. J.D. Vance offered a humorous take by tweeting out a picture of himself holding a rifle while looking up at the sky.

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