After a Chinese balloon was discovered flying high in the sky in the U.S., the military shot down the balloon with a missile over South Carolina on Saturday.

China responded to the military action threatening to “take further actions” and said it would be responding to “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” Associated Press reported.

President Joe Biden issued the order after defense officials advised him it would now be safe to shoot it down without debris fallout possibly hurting people below.

How China responded to the U.S. shooting down the balloon

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying, “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response,” per AP News.

China’s response to a spy balloon flying over the U.S. prompted Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to cancel his trip to Beijing

China claims the balloon was a civilian weather balloon and had drifted there by accident.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said military leaders “had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload,” per NPR.

Timeline of the Chinese balloon over the U.S.

The balloon was first spotted flying over Montana earlier this week at 60,000 feet above the ground. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was planning a trip to Beijing this week, marking the first trip by a U.S. secretary of state to China in six years. But amidst the uncertainty around the balloon, Blinken cancelled the trip right before he was planning to leave, the Deseret News reported.

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China has recently been making efforts to rehabilitate rising tensions within the U.S. and China, especially after conflicts about how to respond to the COVID-19 surfaced the last few years. A professor at the Institute of International Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University told The Washington Post that “there is no point in China sabotaging the process.”

Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by U.S. military

“... From the perspective of China’s top leadership, they wouldn’t have wanted to disrupt the process of easing relations with the United States because this year is a very important year for China to revive the economy,” said Professor Zhao Minghao said, per The Post.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported the move by the U.S. to shoot down the balloon, tweeting:

“Today, the United States brought down China’s high-altitude surveillance balloon that violated American and Canadian airspace and international law. Canada strongly supports this action – we’ll keep working together, including through @NORADCommand, on our security and defence.”

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