RNS: The United States shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that it believes was flying over the country last week. As US military planes followed the object over the Atlantic Ocean, three nearby airports and the airspace around them were forced to close.
The balloon reportedly fell into the water after a small explosion, which the AP news agency could see on video. Since it first surfaced in the United States last week, Vice President Joe Biden has been under intense pressure to dismiss it.
Flightradar24, a website that tracks flights, saw US Air Force and Coast Guard planes flying between North Carolina’s Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. The Associated Press says that the coast guard also told sailors to leave the area because military operations made it very dangerous.
The news agency said that officials who didn’t want to be named, said President Biden gave permission for the balloon to crash into the Atlantic Ocean. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a trip to Beijing because of the balloon’s arrival over the United States, tensions were already high between the two capitals.
On Friday, the United States reported that a second Chinese balloon was spotted in Latin America. China has apologised for the incident and stated that it has never before invaded or trespassed on the territory or airspace of another country.