The US military seeks to recover the wreckage of a Chinese spy balloon
One day after a fighter plane They shot at a Chinese spy balloon In the Atlantic Ocean, cellphone video showed US Navy personnel on Sunday with what appeared to be a white deflated balloon stretched across two different boats.
The Pentagon estimates the balloon was up to 200 feet high, and its destruction created a debris field about 1,500 meters by 1,500 meters, according to the Pentagon.
After the airship entered US airspace for the first time on January 28, it flew over or near four military outposts in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Missouri.
Republicans are angry that the balloon flew over the United States for a week.
“The Chinese were allowed a full week to conduct espionage operations over the United States on sensitive military installations,” Senator Ted Cruz told Face the Nation on Sunday.
President Biden said he ordered the military to drop the balloon on Wednesday, but aides urged him to wait until the water was gone.
China claims it was a derailed weather balloon, calling the US response “unacceptable” and an “overreaction”.
And when asked on Monday if the balloon weakened US-China relations, Biden said, “No.”
“We have made clear to China what we will do,” he said. They understand our position and we will not back down.”
The White House said similar Chinese spy balloons entered US airspace at least three times during the Trump years. Although this was only discovered after the previous administration left, senior administration officials said. Biden officials have not said how or when they discovered these balloons.
Gen. Glenn VanHerk, commander of North American Aerospace Defense and Northern Command, said Monday that the Pentagon has missed Chinese balloon threats in the past, blaming an “awareness gap” for the United States to discover.
“I will tell you that we did not detect those threats,” VanHerck told reporters.
While China also uses satellites, airships are easier to maneuver, can stay longer in one area and are cheaper.
Susan Shirk, former Secretary of State expert in ChinaHe said that the incident makes Beijing look bad.
“I think it’s more than an embarrassment,” Shirk said. “I think it reveals a certain lack of competence on the part of Xi Jinping’s leadership.”
David Martin and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting.