Last Updated: February 05, 2023, 07:50 IST
Washington, United States
US President Joe Biden said he ordered the Pentagon to shoot down the Chinese surveillance balloon. (Image: Associated Press)
A US fighter jet on Saturday shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, the Pentagon said
President Joe Biden on Saturday congratulated fighter pilots for taking down a Chinese spy balloon off the east coast after it spent several days flying over the United States.
“They successfully took it down. And I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” Biden told reporters in Maryland.
Biden told reporters he had on Wednesday ordered the craft shot down “as soon as possible.”
“On Wednesday, when I was briefed on the balloon, I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down, on Wednesday, as soon as possible. They decided without doing damage to anyone on the ground. They decided that the best time to do that was as it got over water, outside — within the 12-mile limit,” Biden said.
A US fighter jet on Saturday shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, the Pentagon said, over what it called Beijing’s “unacceptable violation” of American sovereignty.
The craft spent several days flying over North America, ratcheting up tensions between Washington and Beijing, before it was targeted with a missile shot from an F-22 plane, Pentagon officials said, falling into relatively shallow water just 47 feet (14 meters) deep.
In eyewitness video posted to social media, the balloon appeared to disintegrate in a white puff before its remnants dropped vertically into the ocean below.
China responded that it reserved the right to “take further actions” and criticized the U.S. for “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”
In its statement Sunday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “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.”
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