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China threatens ‘further actions’ over US downing of suspected spy balloon

China threatened “further action” as a response to America’s “serious reaction” to the downing of a spy balloon.

After days of intrigue, the white aircraft was taken out of the sky offshore of South Carolina on Saturday. Diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing continued to deteriorate.

The object was ordered down by Joe Biden, the US president. A defense official claimed that it was a spy balloon China wanted to use at sensitive military sites.

Officials in China claimed that it was a scientific and meteorological research device that was lost.


The Latest – How the US took down a balloon using one missile – and what it contained

‘Obvious overreaction’

Beijing’s foreign ministry stated in a Sunday statement that China will stand firm for the company’s legitimate rights, while allowing the possibility of further action.

It stated that Mr Biden’s order was an “obvious reaction” that “seriously violated international agreements”.

An F-22 fighter plane shot the balloon down, approximately six nautical miles from the coast of South Carolina. Near Myrtle Beach were ships deployed in the waters to assist with the recovery operation.

Continue reading Why is ballooning a serious matter

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“They successfully took it down”

Biden praises US pilots

The US president stated that he wanted the balloon to be shot down as soon as it was spotted above Billings, Montana on Wednesday. This is close to Malmstrom Air Force Base’s nuclear missile silo field.

It had flown over Alaska and then through Canada before entering the USA.

However, Mr Biden stated that he was advised by his advisors to wait until the water was above the surface because of the danger of falling debris.

He said that “they successfully took it down” and praised the aviators for their efforts.

The Federal Aviation Administration stated that flights had been rescheduled at three airports, including Myrtle Beach International Airport, ahead of the operation. This was due to a “national safety effort”.

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Image A few people sat on Myrtle Beach and watched the operation

Operation compared with ‘Top Gun

People on the ground were fascinated by the operation to bring down the balloon.

Local Peter Flynn was one of the many who gathered at Myrtle Beach to see the attack on the aircraft, while others were more cautious.

Ashlyn Preaux said, “I didn’t anticipate waking up to a Top Gun film today.” She saw fighter jets circle the balloon from Forestbrook, South Carolina before it went down.

It flew between 60,000ft to 65,000ft.

What’s next?

Officials from the United States want to recover debris from downed balloon that has spread over seven miles.

The US Coast Guard and Navy and FBI are all involved with the recovery effort. Divers and unmanned submarines will be scouring the seafloor over the coming days.

Sky’s US correspondent Mark Stone stated that Sky will seek to extract a “potential goldmine” of information. Investigators are likely to hope to reconstruct the payload of the balloon and learn from it.


It is clear that the shooting down the spy balloon was an act of escalation.

This is an American escalation that they felt they had to take. However, it will be difficult for both sides to come back from.

Although initially, the Chinese response was surprisingly apologetic and spoke of “regret” at having “accidentally” placed a weather balloon in US airspace. Now, they are significantly more angry.

This is part of Chinese culture to deny. Even if the Americans claim they can prove that the balloon spying was done by the collected debris, it is possible to expect accusations of “smear” China.

Problem is, just as the US felt pressure to shoot, so may the Chinese feel pressure to take retaliatory actions, especially if they stick to the line that it was a civilian craft.

Experts have said that despite the apparent lack of intelligence gain, there has been a significant diplomatic cost.

It is possible that the intention was to provoke, or test the limits. However, it becomes difficult to avoid tit-fortat actions in a relationship sliding towards a Cold War-style standoff.

Both sides have made recent overtures to ensure that the relationship does not deteriorate further. We are still a ways off this morning

Their relationship has been on rough ground for many years and this row between superpowers over the balloon objective is a sensitive moment.

It caused Antony Blinken , the US secretary of State, to cancel his trip to Beijing. This would have required enormous diplomatic effort from both sides.

Xi Jinping acknowledged that competition between countries should not lead to conflict at a meeting held on the sidelines last year’s G20 summit.


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