Balloons from China soar across the Americas

The Chinese balloon hovers over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Feb. 14 before it is shot down by a U.S. fighter jet.

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The Chinese balloon hovers over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Feb. 14 before it is shot down by a U.S. fighter jet.

A large balloon belonging to China was shot down on February 4 over the Atlantic Ocean after flying around the United States for some time. A large amount of suspicion rose in America that it was a balloon made by China to spy on the United States.

“If there was an unmanned aircraft flying above the United States with such success and there is no response from the person or country that it belongs to, then I think it is a good decision to shoot it down,” world History teacher Mr. Aaron Bishop said. 

Reuters reported that parts of the balloon that was shot down off the South Carolina coast have already been recovered by the U.S. military. “Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” the U.S. Northern Command said.

“The balloon should´ve been shot down earlier in fact, this just shows how unprepared we are,” AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Mark Cruthers said.

Another balloon reportedly belonging to China was also spotted flying over Latin America. According to The New York Times, the balloon was spotted in Columbia by the Columbian National Air Defense System on the morning of Feb. 3. Columbia continued to observe and gain intelligence on the balloon while it flew out of its airspace. Reuters also reports a third object that was observed flying through Canadian airspace, many suspecting that it was another balloon. On Feb 11, the object was shot down, this decision of course being agreed upon by both Canada and the United States. 

Contrary to popular belief, AP News reported that the Chinese government is claiming the balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina is actually a civilian-made weather balloon used for meteorological purposes. Nonetheless, the United States government denies the possibility of that being an actual fact because it flew over important air bases, and the balloons are harder to detect than modern satellites used to spy on other countries.

“Especially with the size of the balloon and the amount of success the balloon had with flying over the United States, I believe the balloon had to be funded by the government or by a wealthy person similar to Elon Musk and Bill Gates,” Bishop said.

As specified by Reuters, President Joe Biden spoke with diplomats from 40 other nations about the balloons on Tuesday, Feb.7, 2023. On the same day, President Biden said in his State of the Union address that he was willing to work with China, but he argued that the U.S. does reserve its right to protect the country.