The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon near the South Carolina coast. The action came hours after the balloon, which Pentagon officials called a “surveillance balloon” was spotted over Charlotte, North Carolina, WSOC-TV reported.
China reportedly claimed that the flyover was an accident involving an aircraft from a civilian, according to The Associated Press.
According to the AP, China reportedly responded by saying that they reserved the right to “take further actions” and that the U.S. had violated international practice.
“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,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement obtained by the AP.
President Biden reportedly issued an order on Wednesday for the balloon to be downed immediately but was later advised that the best time for the operation would be when the balloon was over a body of water, according to the AP. Doing so over land could have possibly put people at risk on the ground.
Due to the balloon, Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his trip to Beijing abruptly, according to the AP. The trip was set up to help ease tensions between the U.S. and China.
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