Balloon Popped! Chinese Spy Balloon Plummets after Being Hit by U.S. Fighter Jet

The afternoon the US military took down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been floating across the United States. The FAA issued a ground stop in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina on Saturday afternoon to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort. The high-altitude balloon was initially spotted over Billings, Montana on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden broke his silence about the balloon for the first time on Saturday and told a group of reporters that “We’re going to take care of it”. Defense officials considered shooting down the balloon earlier in the week but decided against it after briefing Biden. The decision was made in consultation with senior leaders including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

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China’s Foreign Ministry claimed that the balloon was a civilian weather airship intended for scientific research that was blown off course, but this claim was summarily dismissed by US officials. A senior Pentagon official said that the object was clearly a surveillance balloon that was flying over sensitive sites to collect intelligence. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indefinitely postponed a trip to China on Friday due to the presence of the balloon.

READ: Canadian Authorities Had Tracked Balloon Since Last Weekend

Blinken told China’s director of Central Foreign Affairs Office, Wang Yi, in a phone call that the balloon was an “irresponsible act and a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law that undermined the purpose of the trip”. Tensions have deepened between the US and China due to China’s increasing military aggression towards Taiwan and closer alliances with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

UPDATED: Biden has since commented that he asked to shoot the Balloon down Wednesday, but was told to wait until “the safest place to do it.”

Information for this briefing was found via CNBC and Twitter. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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