The US has shot down an unidentified object flying in airspace off the coast of Alaska – just days after it shot down a Chinese “spy” balloon.
The White House said the object, which was about the size of a small car, was shot down on the orders of President Joe Biden while flying at about 40,000 feet.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said it posed a “legitimate threat” to the safety of civilian flights.
China threatens further action as US shoots down ‘spy balloon’
What is a spy balloon?
Biden’s response was measured but grounded in reality
It’s not clear where the object came from.
“We don’t know who owns the item,” Mr Kirby said.
“Out of an abundance of caution and on the advice of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to lower the object to the surface,” the U.S. official said.
An F-22 over territorial waters shot down the object with a Sidewinder missile – now frozen.
There was no indication that the object was piloted, and the Pentagon did not know how fast it was flying.
The incident came days after the US shot down a Chinese balloon believed to be a spy plane.
China keeps Balloon is a scientific research airship that accidentally flies over the United States.
that balloon is shoot down on a fighter plane Off the coast of South Carolina — shortly afterward the U.S. military began collecting debris.
The incident sparked a diplomatic spat between the U.S. and China, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken delaying Visit China It was supposed to start in a few days.
Why are U.S. officials unable or unwilling to tell us more?
There are two press conferences today — from the White House and from the Pentagon. Officials, however, were unable to provide many details or answer central questions: What is it?
“We call it an object because that’s the best description we have right now,” a National Security Council official said from the White House podium. At the Pentagon, they can offer more.
They thought it was unmanned – that’s the assessment of two fighter pilots. Its altitude is 40,000 feet — at least 20,000 feet lower than the Chinese balloon that was shot down six days earlier. But what is that?
Is it another balloon carrying a payload? Is it some other type of flying object? Drones?
They had enough vision of it, overnight and once today, to determine its approximate size (they compared it to a small car) and to determine that it was “probably driverless.” So they must have known exactly what type of flying object it was? Why are they unable or unwilling to tell us more?
Do they have any connection with China? Again, they did not say, but did confirm, that no attempt was made to contact the Chinese before or after this shootdown.
When the balloon was shot down on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tried to call his Chinese counterpart.
‘Spy’ balloon is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, off the coast Alaskaand pass Canada before entering the United States.
Officials said they were “confident” that the balloon was “attempting to monitor the sensitive site” and trying to “recover it”.
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Military and defense leaders considered shooting balloons out of the sky but decided against it due to the safety risk of falling debris.
The balloon traveled between 60,000 feet and 65,000 feet before it was shot down, with debris scattered seven miles, according to U.S. officials.