China has been accused by the US of entering its airspace with a “spy balloon.” In response, Beijing described the object as “a civilian airship used for meteorological research.” After it was spotted floating over politically sensitive areas of Montana in the US, the incident captured the attention of the public and sparked a political controversy in Washington. According to officials, the white balloon has a cargo that is “huge” and is the size of three buses.
Within hours after the first balloon’s discovery, the Pentagon announced the existence of a second “surveillance” balloon that was being monitored by authorities. According to a CNN story, the second balloon’s exact location is unknown, although it does not appear to be
Beijing, though, has brushed aside Washington’s claims of spying on people and violating international airspace as an effort to “attack and discredit China.” The Chinese side has confirmed and informed the US side of the unintentional entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace caused by force majeure. It is a non-commercial airship that is used for research, mostly meteorological research. Because of the Westerlies and its limited capacity to direct itself, the airship strayed far from its intended path. The facts surrounding this issue are very obvious, and it is wholly unanticipated and the result of force majeure, according to the spokeswoman for the nation’s foreign ministry on Friday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken decided to postpone his trip to China for next weekend as a result of the event. According to a local media outlet, Blinken was being cautious since he didn’t want to blow the situation out of proportion by postponing his visit, but he also didn’t want the meeting to be overshadowed by the problem.
When a “ground stop” was put in place on local airports on Wednesday afternoon, word of something peculiar in the skies over Billings, Montana, began to circulate. According to the Billings Gazette, no flights, including commercial aviation traffic, were allowed to land or take off within a 50-mile radius that encompassed the Billings airport. Since then, air travel has resumed.
According to Chase Doak, a “huge white circle in the sky” that he claimed was too small to be the Moon was visible from a Billings office window, according to The Associated Press. “I believed it might have been a real UFO… I therefore wanted to make sure I captured it on camera and in as many shots as I could.
However, the Pentagon’s response discredited hypotheses that suggested extraterrestrial activity and shifted the focus to China. According to a senior DOD official, the US has “extremely high confidence” that the object was a Chinese high-altitude balloon that was flying over sensitive locations to gather data.
President Joe Biden was informed about the situation but was cautioned against taking “kinetic action” since balloon debris could endanger people and property on the ground. According to Brig. Gen. Ryder in his statement, the balloon is now “far above commercial air traffic and does not represent a hazard to public aviation.” He added that the US had “taken quick steps” to protect critical material after spotting the high-flying balloon, but he did not provide any further details, according to The AP.
“China’s flagrant contempt for US sovereignty is a destabilising action that must be handled,” tweeted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).