The US military shot down four flying objects over North America in the past few days. Beijing is now accusing the United States of illegal overflights.
The mystery in the sky over North America is growing: since the launch of a suspected Chinese spy balloon a week ago, the US military has now destroyed three more unidentified flying objects. Most recently, an F-16 fighter jet took down a missile over Lake Huron in the US state of Michigan on Sunday, as the Pentagon announced in Washington. The origin and destination of the object remained unclear. Examination of the rubble should provide more information.
For days, ominous flying objects over North America have been posing new puzzles to the United States and the world – and are causing unrest. But China no longer wants to be denounced as the culprit and turned the tables on Monday: The Foreign Ministry in Beijing accused the United States of having let balloons fly over China “more than ten times illegally” over the past year.
The US should stop “denigrating other countries and fomenting confrontation,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. It’s fairly common for US balloons to fly over other countries. But the spokesman did not say what type of balloons he was referring to — whether for espionage or simply for weather monitoring.
Latest incident on Sunday
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that dozens of Chinese “military balloons” have also entered Taiwan’s airspace in recent years – far more than previously known. “They come very frequently, the last one just a few weeks ago,” said a senior official. Another person added that such overflights happened once a month on average.
In the most recent incident over the United States, the North American Air Defense Command Norad spotted the flying object on Sunday morning and tracked it visually and by radar, the Pentagon reported. It was about six kilometers high. The trajectory and altitude raised concerns that the object could pose a threat to civil aviation. Potential monitoring options for the property would also have posed a risk. US President Joe Biden therefore gave the instruction to shoot it down.
US fighter jets had already shot down two unidentified flying objects on Friday and Saturday: one off the coast of the US state of Alaska, the other over northern Canada. The salvage of debris should provide answers about the origin and purpose of the mission – so far, however, has been difficult due to the weather and environmental conditions on site.
London is examining the safety of its airspace
In light of recent events, the UK has announced that it will review the security of its airspace. “The UK and its allies will assess what these airspace incursions mean for our security,” Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday evening. “This development is another sign of how the global threat picture is changing for the worse.”
A week ago, the US Air Force took down a Chinese balloon suspected of being used for espionage off the coast of the state of South Carolina. The US government accuses China of wanting to spy on military installations. Beijing, on the other hand, spoke of a civilian research balloon that had gone off course. The incident caused new tensions in the already strained relationship. The US accused China of running a major surveillance program with balloons and targeting more than 40 countries on five continents.