US shooting down balloon ‘seriously damaged’ relations, says China; recovery of ‘spy’ balloon parts underway
A US fighter jet fired an F-22 Raptor missile and shot down a suspected spy balloon from China, ending a standoff that lasted more than a week. The US Navy is currently conducting rescue operations and the Coast Guard is assisting in securing the area. But China said the US downing of the balloon had “severely affected and damaged” relations with Washington.
Incredible HD footage of the Chinese surveillance balloon being shot down. pic.twitter.com/K1GxdcJuH1
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) February 4, 2023
The successful recovery of an “intelligence-gathering pod” could give the United States insight into China’s spying capabilities, although the Pentagon has downplayed the balloon’s impact on national security.
A suspicious spy balloon the size of three school buses was spotted on Friday over Montana, US, one of three nuclear missile launch sites. If the United States had shot down the balloon then, 2,000 people in Montana could have been at risk from scattered debris, The Washington Post reported.
So U.S. officials decided to shoot down the suspected spy balloon while it was over the Atlantic Ocean, and then President Joe Biden said it needed to be removed as soon as possible.