The Chinese Surveillance Balloon

Timeline of the Chinese Spy Balloon:

January 28- The Chinese Spy Balloon enters the United States airspace. It started high over Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands. The balloon started to get tracked but had posed no threat or risks at the time.

January 30- The balloon travels into the Canadian airspace, which had soon gotten accused of spying. According to CBS News, the Chinese spy balloon was carrying “high-tech equipment capable of collecting communications signals and other sensitive information.”

January 31- The balloon re-enters U.S. airspace, which brings alert to United States President Joe Biden, who considers the option of shooting it out of the air.

February 1- The balloon travels over the home to an Air Force Base, which operates ballistic missiles. President Biden had informed the Pentagon to come up with options and a better solution to shoot down said ‘Spy Balloon’ as soon as possible. He then stated that the only way to keep everyone safe would be to shoot it down over United States territorial waters, and in a way that allowed them to recover the balloon’s wreckage.

February 2- The Pentagon immediately issues a national statement that the foreign object is indeed a Chinese Spy Balloon, and it has entered U.S. airspace again. People begin criticizing the President for not taking care of it sooner.

February 3- China releases a statement informing everyone that the balloon is, in fact, Chinese, but they had claimed their balloon was used to collect weather data but blown off course. That claim was denied by the Pentagon, and the U.S. officials acknowledged that the balloon was clearly for surveillance in the U.S. which was a breach.

February 4- Biden pledges ‘we’re going to take care of it’ when asked about what will happen to it. As the balloon makes its way towards the coast of South Carolina, near territorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the President issued an F-22 jet to soar nearly 60,000 feet in the air to shoot a single AIM-9X Sidewinder air missile to take down the balloon. After it was shot around 2:39 pm, the U.S. military began a search to recover anything from the balloon. The balloon would be analyzed once recovered.

The Path of the Chinese Spy Balloon:

What Did Civilians Think?
Those who had spotted the balloon in the air had believed that it had the possibility of harming them or performing something dangerous. Many had believed the opposite and had assumed that it was for tracking the weather, aerial service, or civilian research.

What Did the Pentagon Think?
When the Pentagon had taken action regarding the alleged ‘Spy Balloon,’ they had begun tracking its flight across the U.S. but had decided not to do anything to stop it or shoot it down to prevent a scare. That changed when President Biden took charge with the air force.

What Was the True Purpose of the Balloon?
The Chinese Spy Balloon would give the Chinese better photos and signals, and a better ability to steer and hover longer over collection targets, but overall, it was used to spy in United States airspace. Hence the name, ‘Spy Balloon.’

Why And Where Was It Shot?
The Chinese Spy Balloon was shot off the coast of South Carolina near the Atlantic Ocean. It was shot for safety reasons and the United States saw it as a violation of sovereignty.

What Was China’s Response to the Balloon Being Shot Down?
The following Saturday, China had expressed its anger after the United States had shot down their balloon, which was claimed to be a normal civilian airship just observing the weather, then blown off its course. The Foreign Ministry of China expressed full dissatisfaction and protest against the balloon being shot down and had claimed that it was a violation of international practice and threatened repercussions. The United States government had spoken directly to Beijing about the situation.

According to a senior United States Department of Defense official, “its intrusion of our airspace for multiple days was an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” (“Senior Defense Official and Senior Military Official Hold an Off-Camera, On-Background Press Briefing Update on the High-Altitude Surveillance Balloon,” U.S. Department of Defense).

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