The US sent a fighter jet to shoot down a strange object flying at high altitudes in the state of Alaska, but it is not clear what this is and its origin.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on February 10 that the “foreign object” was shot down by the US military at an altitude of more than 12 km over the state of Alaska after the Pentagon identified it. “posed a threat to the safety of civilians.”
The object is the size of a small car, much smaller than the Chinese airship that was downed on February 4. US President Joe Biden received notice of the object on February 9 and ordered it to be shot down a day later.
Mr. Kirby said, “Washington did not seek to contact Beijing” about this case after detecting a Chinese balloon in the airspace.
White House and Pentagon officials said there was no information to determine what the object was or where it came from. The US has planned to recover the flying object’s debris in the northeastern Alaska region.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington escalated after the Chinese airship entered US airspace on January 28, moved into Canadian airspace on January 30, and returned to US airspace a day later. US officials did not make the balloon’s presence public until February 2.
The US Air Force then sent F-22 stealth fighters to launch missiles and shoot down Chinese airships in the waters off South Carolina on February 4. The US House of Representatives on February 9 passed a resolution condemning China’s “use of high-altitude spy balloons over US territory as a flagrant violation of its sovereignty.”
China says it has repeatedly explained that the downed airship was used for civilian purposes and accidentally entered US airspace but was ignored by Washington. Beijing accused Washington of handling the balloon as “wrong and irresponsible.”