Officials of the Chinese Defense Ministry Outright refused to respond to a secure call from the U.S. Secretary of Defense after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down just off the coast of South Carolina, according to recent reports from the Pentagon.
Last Saturday, the U.S. finally downed the Chinese spy balloon after it managed to drift out across the North American continent over the course of a week, managing to pass over a number of highly sensitive military installations — including one compound located in Montana hosting 150 intercontinental ballistic missile silos. China has claimed that the object was actually just a weather balloon that had errantly blown wildly off course, and condemned the “indiscriminate use of force” from the U.S. after it was shot down.
On the other hand, U.S. intelligence has made the claim that the balloon was just a tool for espionage and was holding thousands of pounds of sophisticated surveillance equipment. Officials for the U.S. have also stated that the aircraft was equipped with propellers and small rotors, suggesting that instead of being ‘blown off course’ the balloon was deliberately flown into the U.S. airspace and steered toward particular areas of interest.
“On Saturday, 4 February, immediately after taking action to down the PRC balloon, the DOD submitted a request for a secure call between Secretary Austin and PRC Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe,” explained Brigadier General Pat Ryder. “Unfortunately, the PRC has declined our request. Our commitment to open lines of communication will continue.”
The balloon was first spotted inside U.S. airspace back on the 28th of January as it passed over Alaska, just north of the Aleutian islands. A report from Politico stated that the craft was not first seen as a threat, despite the fact that North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) was closely tracking its movements.
As of the 30th of January, it had moved out into Canadian airspace — only to dip back into American airspace as of January 31st when it moved back into northern Idaho. President Biden was quickly notified of the incursion by officials from the Defense Department, and assets of the U.S. military started to take strides to secure both radio communication and various sites.
Reportedly, Biden pushed for the balloon to be taken down but was convinced by military advisors not to order it done. The advisors allegedly thought that the risk of debris hurting a civilian or structures on the ground was far too high — a number of analysts reportedly estimated that the debris could end up being scattered over a radius of seven miles. But the first of the month, Biden administration was looking into options for taking down the balloon while it was still over waters owned by the US.
The spy balloon was shot down on Saturday afternoon by an F-22 fighter jet, near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina