US pops Chinese 'spy' balloon over Atlantic, Beijing bursts in reaction
Beijing has denounced the shooting down of a Chinese "spy balloon" by the U.S. military on Saturday and said it reserves the right to "response."
The balloon, estimated to be the size of three school buses, flying at 60,000 feet, was passing over strategic American military facilities, U.S. media reported.
"They successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it," U.S. President Joe Biden applauded the team that popped the balloon.
The President had earlier issued the order to bring down the balloon over water to avoid potential harm to the civilian population.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Coast Guard cleared the site around the impact area in both the air and the water.
Meanwhile, China retaliated by claiming the flyover was an accident involving a "civilian" aircraft and threatened repercussions.
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," said China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
This latest incident has further aggravated already strained US-Chinese affairs, prompting Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a high-stakes trip to Beijing aimed at defusing tensions.
Popping the balloon and strained relations
The hunted, massive white orb was spotted over the Carolinas on Saturday morning as it approached the Atlantic coast.
It was punctured by a missile launched from an F-22 fighter jet while it was approximately six nautical miles off the shore in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Several media reports earlier cited how Americans spent the entire week staring up into the sky, wondering if the balloon had passed over them.
The Grand Strand, a populated region noted for its kilometers of beaches that attract retirees and tourists, was abuzz with excitement over the balloon-bursting event.
"China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force," said the Chinese Foreign Affairs Sunday statement.
The statement continued that Beijing had informed the U.S. side "repeatedly" that the airship was only for civilian use and had unintentionally entered the country.
Balloon threat - "overreaction?"
Tensions between the U.S. and China have increased as a result of the balloon's downing, which the White House treated as a Chinese spy airship.
The balloon threat has been called "an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice" by the U.S. adversary.
It is unclear how the two giant powers will go forward in the coming time.
Meanwhile, balloon debris recovery efforts are underway in U.S. territorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean.
IE interviewed NT-Tao's CEO, Oded Gour-Lavie, to discuss a new clean energy approach taking the best of tokamak and stellarator technology.