Beijing [China], February 5 (ANI): China has expressed strong dissatisfaction and protest against the United States use of force to shoot down its balloon, which it called a civilian airship, Global Times reported. The statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry comes after US military fighter aircraft shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon on Saturday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China requires the US to handle the incident in a calm, professional and restrained manner, Global Times reported. The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday said that an unmanned airship that was spotted in the US was a civilian airship from China that deviated far from its planned course.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing will continue to hold communication with the US to handle the unexpected situation caused by force majeure, as per the news report. The balloon was first spotted in the sky over Montana earlier this week, according to CNN.
US President Joe Biden said that a Chinese spy balloon has been shot down successfully. Speaking to reporters in Maryland, he said that the ordered the Pentagon to shoot the balloon "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 and within the 12-mile limit.
"They successfully took it down. And I want to compliment our aviators who did it. And we'll have more to report on this a little later," he further added.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in a statement on Saturday (local time) said that US fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command successfully shot down the high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to China over the water off the coast of South Carolina in US airspace.
Lloyd Austin said that the balloon which was used by China in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental US was shot down above US territorial waters. A US Air Force fighter safely shot down a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon, the US Defence Department said in a statement.
"This afternoon, at the direction of President Biden, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in U.S. airspace," Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
He further said, "The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters." Austin said that US President Joe Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon "as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon's path."
Furthermore, he said that US military commanders determined that downing the balloon over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area. Joe Biden wanted the US to shoot down a Chinese balloon "as soon as possible." He said that the US Department of Defence created options to shoot down the balloon safely over US territorial waters while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities.
This action was taken in coordination, and with the full support, of the Canadian government. And we thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through NORAD as it transited North America," Lloyd Austin said.
He added, "Today's deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC's unacceptable violation of our sovereignty." (ANI)