On Thursday a surveillance balloon from China was spotted hovering over Billings, Montana, according to Deseret News.
The news: After tracking the balloon for a few days, the U.S. military shot the balloon down on Saturday, per CNBC.
- President Joe Biden signed off on shooting down the balloon as long as it was clear it wouldn’t harm anyone below.
- “In accordance with the President’s direction, the Department of Defense developed options to take down the balloon safely over our territorial waters, while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in the statement, according to CNBC.
- The Federal Aviation Administration has closed airspace in areas of both North and South Carolina, according to ABC. The Myrtle Beach and Wilmington airports will be closed until 2:45 p.m. EST for “national security initiatives.”
A second balloon: The Pentagon said on Friday that another Chinese surveillance balloon, similar to the one in the U.S. has been spotted flying over Latin America, per NBC.
Biden’s response: Biden says that the U.S. is “going to take care of” the surveillance balloon, according to BBC. He didn’t offer any further comments.
- The U.S. government is facing pressure to shoot down the balloon, but officials have advised against such a move in concern of about what debris could do if it impacted anyone on land, BBC stated.
Worth noting: ABC reports that similar high-altitude balloons were also seen over Guam and Hawaii last year.
Where did the balloon come from? China says that the balloon is a weather balloon that has “deviated far from its course,” Deseret News reported.
- China says they’re remorseful over the “unintended entry,” per Deseret.
- China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, said, “China is a responsible country and always abides strictly by international law. We have no intention of violating the territory or airspace of any sovereign country,” according to Deseret News.