Destroyed Chinese balloon was probably 61 meters high

Destroyed Chinese balloon was probably 61 meters high

uS President Joe Biden has the shooting down of suspected Chinese espionage-Balloons defended over the sea. At the same time, he rejected allegations made by Republicans in particular that the shooting took place too late. The White House, meanwhile, announced that it was able to obtain intelligence information from the balloon and does not want to return the debris to Beijing.

“The moment it came to the United States from Canada, I told the Department of Defense that I wanted it down as soon as it was appropriate,” Biden told journalists about the balloon. “They said we shouldn’t shoot him down over land. He wasn’t a big threat and we should wait until he’s afloat.” At the same time, Biden made it clear that despite the incident, he was in contact with China don’t want to break off completely.

The flight of the balloon over the USA had caused a stir, outrage and new tensions between Washington and Beijing in the past few days. Biden finally had the balloon shot down by a fighter jet over the Atlantic Ocean on the US east coast on Saturday when the balloon was no longer over the mainland. The rubble is now being salvaged.

Regarding a possible return of the rubble to China, the spokesman for the National Security Council said: John Kirby: “I don’t know of any intention or plans to return it.” Measures had already been taken during the balloon’s overflight over the USA to limit its espionage abilities. At the same time, intelligence information was withdrawn from the balloon. “We are still analyzing the information we were able to extract from the balloon before launching it.”

“Now we’re going to recover the rubble and I expect we’ll learn more then,” Kirby added. The forces have already recovered the first parts from the sea surface. Because of the weather conditions, however, dives off the coast of South Carolina are difficult. But specialists “would be able to go down there and get a better look at what’s on the bottom of the ocean in the coming days,” Kirby said. The debris field is “quite large”.

As heavy as a small airliner

Further details about the flying object became known on Monday. The balloon was about 200 feet tall and probably weighed as much as a small airliner, said US Northern Command commander Glen VanHerck. It was also only shot above the water because it was feared that glass from solar panels or potentially dangerous material, for example from batteries, could have fallen down. It was also expected that explosives would detonate and the balloon could have been destroyed. The naval survey ship Pathfinder used, among other things, sonar technology to measure the debris field. The entire field has an approximate size of 1500 by 1500 meters. Due to the swell, the work under water was initially made more difficult. The operation takes place at a depth of around 15 meters, said VanHerck on Monday.

After discovering the balloon last week, China said it was a civilian meteorological balloon that had gone off course. On Monday, the State Department said in Beijing, the shooting down had “seriously affected and damaged” relations between the People’s Republic and the United States. The United States, on the other hand, has repeatedly confirmed that it was a spy balloon.

The balloon and its launch should be one of the topics Bidens annual State of the Union address on Tuesday. The two chambers of Congress meet in Washington for this speech, known as the State of the Union.

Sorry from Beijing

China has apologized to Costa Rica for a balloon sighted over Latin America. The government in Beijing has admitted that one of its balloons flew over the territory of the Central American country, the Costa Rican foreign ministry said in a brief statement on Monday. The Chinese embassy in San Jose said it “apologized for the incident” and said the balloon was used for scientific research, primarily weather studies.

According to Chinese information, the flight path of the balloon deviated from the original course and there are only limited possibilities for course correction. A separate Chinese balloon was spotted over US territory last week and shot down by US Air Force fighter jets on Saturday.

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