After the Chinese spy balloon was shot down, one of three unknown flying objects was taken down on Friday, Feb. 10. This incident occurred over Alaska.
Authorization was obtained from Canada’s prime minister to take down the second flying object since it was over Yukon, a region in Canada. Both objects were detected via radar around 40,000 feet in the air, which is around the height that commercial aircraft travel, as per VOA news.
The third unknown object was destroyed over Lake Huron, Michigan, at about 20,000 feet in the air.
According to a speech given by President Biden, what the objects were is still unknown. However, the president said that nothing about the flying objects indicated that they could have been surveillance vehicles. Instead, he said that they are probably for research or recreation purposes.
USA Today said that the Chinese spy balloon contained devices that could intercept sensitive communications. The Pentagon collected data from the balloon that indicated it could collect sensitive information. China said that the balloon was simply a civilian air balloon for research purposes.
“China always acts in strict accordance with international law and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” a foreign ministry spokesperson for China said. “We have no intention to violate and has [sic] never violated the territory or airspace of any sovereign country. Some politicians and media in the US have hyped it up to attack and smear China. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that.”
USA Today said that the spy craft incident caused a diplomatic meeting to be canceled. The meeting was supposed to be Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing.
The Pentagon waited for the balloon to pass over land in order to prevent injuries, deaths, or property damage when it was shot down. However, waiting allowed for the balloon to drift away from land allowed for it to float over sensitive sites like military bases and nuclear missile silos.
The spy craft contained solar panels, and it was discovered that there is an entire fleet of similar balloons operated by China’s army, as per USA Today.
As far as recovery has gone, the U.S Navy has ended its recovery process of the giant spy balloon.
A U.S. government official told NPR that they believe the Chinese spy balloon was intended to spy over Guam and Hawaii. However, it ended up floating over Alaska, Canada, and then the rest of the U.S. The official said that it is likely the balloon was blown off its course by wind.
Sightings of another Chinese spy balloon have occurred over Latin America. It started from China, flew above Costa Rica and Nicaragua, floated above Colombia and was spotted in Venezuela. The balloon was described as one of high altitude. According to the Colombian Air Force, it detected the object to be over 55,000 feet in the air while it drifted over Colombia.
Chinese spy balloons have also been reported in other countries like India, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.