How China responded after US shot down suspected gaze balloon

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CNN's Ivan Watson is standing by in Hong Kong with the latest from there Ivan. China doubling down, issuing some strong words after the U.S. down the balloon. That's right. Beijing is now saying that if the U.S.

Essentially if the U.S. flies a balloon over China, it'll probably shoot it down. Look at this statement coming from the Chinese defense ministry. Quote, The U.S. used force to attack our civilian unmanned airship, which is an obvious overreaction.

We expressed solemn protest against this move by the U.S. side and reserve the right to use necessary means to deal with similar situations. There has been a shift in the tone from Beijing. On Friday evening, the Chinese foreign ministry.

Expressed regret, saying that it's an air ship, as it described it, which was used primarily for research purposes, had blown off course over the U.S. And now the Chinese government, different ministries are protesting the fact that that.

This U.S. fighter jet shot the balloon down. The damage on the diplomatic front has already been visible with the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, postponing a trip that he was supposed.

To make this weekend to Beijing over this balloon scandal. And calling the existence of this balloon over U.S. airspace a violation of U.S. sovereignty and of international law. The Chinese response has been, hey, this is a weather. This is due to weather.

It's out of our control. They have been communicating with their U.S. counterparts but this has clearly done some damage to what was an effort that began in November between President Biden.

And the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, when they met face to face at the G-20 summit in Bali to try to basically put a stop to the downward spiral in relations between the world's two largest economies.

We'll just have to see whether there can be any efforts to try to revive diplomacy in the wake of of this. I would argue a growing crisis. How was this incident seen in the region? Well, look, it is creating a repercussion elsewhere. The Canadian government.

Came out over the weekend saying that this balloon had been seen in Canadian airspace. It summoned China's ambassador to Ottawa then. And now we're getting reports of a second object flying over Central and Latin America that looks.

Remarkably similar to the balloon that was just shot down over the U.S. It was seen over Costa Rica, according to Costa Rican officials, on Thursday. And then on Friday, the Colombian Air Force put out this statement.

Saying that this object was seen at an altitude of above 55,000 feet, which is roughly the same altitude as the balloon that was seen over the U.S., that it was monitored and it was moving at a speed of 25 knots,.

And that the Colombians followed it until it left Colombian airspace. A U.S. official telling CNN they believe that this also is, as they put it, a Chinese surveil launch balloon.

We have put a question in to the Chinese government asking whether or not this is in fact a Chinese airship as they've put it about, about the the previous balloon that was seen over U.S. airspace. And also, U.S. officials have said.

That they have also seen similar Chinese, as they put it, surveillance balloons three times over U.S. airspace during the Trump administration and at least once over the U.S. earlier during the Biden administration. Why has this story to do this? Why is this blown up this time? Well, U.S.

Officials say they haven't seen it loitering over U.S. airspace for such a duration of time in the past. And we don't know that ordinary citizens have been able to see this kind of balloon with their own eyes, with the naked eye and take pictures of it before.

And that's part of what's adding to the alarm here. Ivan Watson reporting from Hong Kong, thanks so much. Ivan. Mary Schiavo is a CNN transportation analyst. She joins us now from Anchorage, Alaska. So good to see you. Mary, incidentally, the balloon.

We understand, was first detected last Saturday over Alaska. It's now in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere after quite a journey. How long do we expect to salvage operation to take Well, actually, the United States and several other countries are very experienced.

In these underwater salvage operations because of downed aircraft over the past and for many years. And other underwater operations. So it's really going to depend upon how lucky they are at finding the the payload package, the debris. If you will, there the equipment or whatever.

Fell from the balloon and without what they call a pinger many times or devices that help you locate, for example, black, black boxes on down planes. But here, they don't expect to find that. So they will just have to literally scour the ocean floor.

But many of the w orld's nations are quite experienced in underwater recovery operations. And, Mary, once the parts are salvaged, will it be obvious whether investigators are dealing with a spy and contraption or whether tracker? Will that be obvious right away?.

And what will they hope to learn by studying the balloon? Well, it should be obvious, but then there's a big ifs here that depends upon how well the equipment survived the fall and how people think that water breaks or fall.

But literally from falling from that height, it's it's like hitting concrete. It's a very hard fall. So they will have to see what is left and what's there to determine, which could, of course, be possible. They will have the equipment, but they can't recover from it.

Because of exposure to saltwater or because of the impact. But, yeah, the you know, the United States and other countries that have experienced an underwater recovery of aircraft parts and black boxes and equipment.

Are pretty good at downloading information and putting it back together because of investigators from prior aviation accidents. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. I understand that other suspected spy balloons have transited.

Across the continental U.S.. That's right. They're reporting now. And and, you know, I think that the public sightings may play a big role in this. And what's happened this time? Because now.

The government is saying that this has been happening for for as long as five or more years. There was one cited over Hawaii and Fabio sorry, of 20, 22 just a year ago now. The Costa Rica sighting. The Columbia sighting. So it's very difficult to.

Find that with the the story that it was just one balloon that escaped from China. So I think that's part of the problem here is too many to believe the explanation, if it turns out to be a spying balloon, this still needs to be determined. Why use a brain for spying.

When you can use satellites? I mean, are they more effective? Because they're certainly not subtle Well, and the speculation and in the U.S. and other circles and other places is, of course, they're searching for something. Satellites can't pick up.

Other kinds of detection, communications signals, radiation signatures, other kinds of things that the satellites can't possibly pick up. So this would be a different kind of sensing equipment, most likely, because if you're looking for a visual sighting, obviously satellite.

Technology is so great that you can get, you know, pictures down to, you know, a few feet or in some cases a few inches. So that the technology on the satellites, if it's some kind of a visual sensing, is amazingly good. So the fact that some people speculate they were looking to locate US.

Missile silos. Yeah, probably not. I'm sure they already know that. So this would be other kind of sensing equipment. And the speculation is most likely some kind of communications sensing radiation, microwave waves or other things that you could not readily sense.

From a satellite. And a final thought from you. Could Beijing ask to have the wreckage returned? I mean, what's the protocol in these situations? If there is a protocol? Well, you know, that kind of thing is.

That's very interesting question. And that has happened in the past. And the U.S. has been in similar situations where they have had heavy equipment, ships, planes, you name it, returned many, many years ago. Before, for many probably listening, were even born in.

The U.S., had a spy plane that was shot down. And, of course, U.S. to ask to have it returned, they could ask to have it returned but when she was on the other foot and other countries, China, etc., that equipment from the United States, you know,.

They didn't return and they certainly didn't return it until they saw what was on it. And because it did traverse the U.S. airspace, now they say, well, you know, you shot down a civilian aircraft, not exactly. When you traverse the airspace of other countries,.

There are treaties in place that govern that you have to give advice and permission, etc. And we don't have those same treaties in place with China, by the way. They're not the same for all countries of the world. So it did invade the airspace.

Without permission. And of course, the advisory that came too little too late doesn't explain that. So I think that the U.S. will keep it. Mary Schiavo, I thank you so much. Greatly appreciate you. Thank you.

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