Biden Refuses To Shoot Down China Spy Balloon Over US
by Stefan Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – U.S. President Joe Biden refused Thursday to order a military strike against a massive spy balloon believed to be from China flying over the continental United States, officials acknowledged.
U.S. Air Force F-22 fighters were dispatched to Montana, where the balloon was first observed before the Biden administration decided not to shoot it down. President Biden, for now, decided against “military options” because of the risk to civilians, well-informed U.S. sources said.
Still, officials insisted, they continue to closely monitor the vessel as they have since it entered the country — while voicing their concern to the Chinese. “The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon flying over the continental United States right now,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement on Thursday.
“NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] continues to track and monitor it closely,” Ryder said.
The balloon, packed with spying technology, was seen as China’s most aggressive act of intelligence gathering over sensitive U.S. national security sites in recent memory.
Military officials said China could seek more information on the U.S. maintaining an arsenal of 150 nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
A senior defense official said that the U.S. government was taking steps to shield sensitive sites. He reportedly added that the reconnaissance systems on the balloon were to have “limited additive value” beyond what China gathers from low earth orbit satellites.
Yet the balloon sighting came days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to make a planned trip to the Chinese capital, according to U.S. officials.
The incident was overshadowing efforts to improve relations between the two powers at odds over several global and regional issues after the COVID pandemic that allegedly originated from China.
Tensions have also risen between Beijing and Washington over the democratically ruled island of Taiwan, which China regards as its province.
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