Home / News / World /  China expresses ‘strong dissatisfaction’ over US shooting down spy balloon

The United States military fighter jet on Sunday shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. China's Beijing accused the US of clearly overreacting and seriously violating international practice, according to AFP reports. 

In an official statement, Beijing's foreign ministry said, “China expresses strong dissatisfaction and protests against the use of force by the United States to attack the unmanned civilian airship."

The Chinese foreign ministry also stated that it would reserve the right to make further necessary responses. It added that it had clearly requested that the United States properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner. 

Beijing also said the United States insisted on using force, clearly overreacting and seriously violating international practice. “China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of relevant enterprises and reserve the right to make further necessary responses."

Multiple fighter and refueling aircraft were involved in the mission, but only one -- an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia -- took the shot at 2:39 pm (around 12 am IST), using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile.

The Chinese spy balloon appeared to disintegrate in a white puff before its remnants dropped vertically into the ocean below.

An eyewitness said no boats appeared to be in the water beneath the balloon as the wreckage fell, but several aircraft arrived soon after. US officials tried to time the operation so they could recover as much debris as possible before it sinks.

China said it was a weather research vessel blown off course, a claim rejected by US officials who said the craft had been over areas of Montana where nuclear missiles are siloed.

The balloon first entered US airspace in Alaska on 28 January before moving into Canadian airspace on Monday, 30 January. It then re-entered US airspace over northern Idaho on 31 January, a US defense official said. Once it crossed over US land, it did not return to the open waters, making a shootdown difficult.


(With AFP inputs)

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