Chinese Surveillance Balloon Shot Down by U.S. Fighter Jet


Travis Huffstetler/Handout via Reuters

Chinese surveillance balloon.

On Jan. 28, U.S. airspace spotted a white balloon off the north of Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Though many did not think much of this balloon, the U.S. Air Force was quick to think about shooting it down. They shot down the balloon on Feb. 4, with a U.S. fighter jet off the coast of Carolina.

In response, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement stating that it was “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice. China will resolutely uphold the relevant companies legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to further actions in response.”

China was not happy with the Air Force shooting down the balloon, claiming that the balloon was an “errant civilian airship” that had blown off course due to winds and their lack of being able to steer it.

After U.S. officials checked the balloon, they remained firm with the claim that it was a spy balloon. Then, the Pentagon checked the balloon, saying that it was carrying sensors and surveillance equipment. They were also able to find out that it was maneuverable and displayed that it was able to change its course.

As they continue searching for the balloon, officials are saying that it was used for surveillance and intelligence collection, but they haven’t provided much information to the public. They say that the balloon took the course around a U.S. Air Defense Zone and around Canadian airspace.

President Joe Biden was briefed about the sighting of the balloon by the White House. The Pentagon press secretary, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, was quick to speak out, saying, “Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”

This is as much information as we know at the moment, but officials say that they will release more information once they have continued searching and recovering pieces of the balloon.