Chinese Surveillance Balloon Shot Down

Chinese Surveillance Balloon Shot Down

Nadia Aldweib

Recent events regarding the airspace of the United States have come to light. This past weekend saw disputes between the United States and China in response to a balloon drifting within United States airspace.

The U.S. perceived the balloon to be a Chinese spy balloon and had observed it as it had drifted across the United States. The balloon loaded with surveillance equipment was viewed as a threat to the American people and the decision was made by President Joe Biden to shoot the balloon down whenever it was safe to do so.   

U.S. military shoots down suspected Chinese surveillance balloonSuspected Chinese spy balloon shot down by Virginia F-22 jet, Dept. of Defense says | WBFF

The process of shooting the balloon down required precision and accuracy in order to ensure the safety of residents and aircraft in the area. President Biden was set on the takedown of the balloon and so the plans were set in motion. Ground stops were issued for three airports within North and South Carolina by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Shortly after 2:30 pm on Saturday, February 4, 2023, U.S. officials shot down the balloon spotted off the coast of South Carolina. According to a senior defense official the balloon went down with only a single air-to-air missile strike by an F-22 U.S. fighter jet.   

Following the balloon’s takedown the U.S. government reached out directly to the Chinese government. China responded to the shoot down of the balloon, claiming it was an overreaction on the United States’s part. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also viewed it as a violation of international practice. 

China denied the allegations of the balloon being utilized for surveillance. They claimed it was merely meant for scientific research but the balloon had been blown off course due to the rampant winds. However, the abundance of surveillance equipment attached to the balloon, nearly the size of two to three school buses, had the U.S. refuting their claim.

The remnants of the 200 foot tall balloon were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. Navy on Sunday, February 5, 2023. Fire Navy ships aided in the recovery of debris from the balloon within a 10 mile radius off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

The shoot down of the Chinese balloon by U.S. fighter jets has resulted in the relations between the United States and China to become tense as noted by New York Democrat, Chuck Schumer. Each party believes themselves to be in the right and this is likely only the start of a back and forth battle between the United States and China.