US shoots down controversial Chinese Spy Balloon over Atlantic

The US military has shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that has been flying across the country for the past week. This prompted the closure of three airports and the shutdown of airspace off the South Carolina coast as US military planes targeted the object over the Atlantic Ocean. Footage showed the balloon falling to the sea after a small explosion. US President Joe Biden faced intense pressure to shoot it down since it first appeared across the US last week, and the Coast Guard had advised mariners to leave the area due to military operations.

The balloon’s arrival over the US has caused fraying tensions between Washington and Beijing, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling off a trip to Beijing over the matter and expressing that its presence was “an irresponsible act”. China, however, has expressed regret over the incident and said it was a weather ship blown astray, urging for “cool-headed” handling of the dispute. In response, the US reported a second Chinese balloon floating over Latin America on Friday. China has since been in contact with the US over the balloon, claiming to be “working to verify the facts”.  

Overall, the US military’s shooting down of the suspected Chinese spy balloon has caused a heightened sense of tension between the two countries. The US has expressed its disapproval of the balloon’s presence and has reported another floating over Latin America, while China has expressed regret and urged for a “cool-headed” approach to the dispute.

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