Intriguingly US-Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to shoot down ‘unidentified objects’ over the US and Canada that turned out to be Chinese balls and spy balloons. It was reported that they shot down small, cylindrical objects flying at an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet that unlawfully entered the airspaces of these countries posing a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flights. These balloons suspected to be flying objects for spies are said to be part of a fleet that has spanned five continents.
The flights of giant balloons carrying electronics that the US Pentagon described as a spy vessel sparked a diplomatic flare-up with China though China while acknowledging their ownership emphasises that they were harmless whether Chinese balls and balloons were blown off course. Over the skies of the US, the balloon’s path took it over several US military installations including ones with silos of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The incident prompted the scrapping of a rare trip to Beijing by the US Secretary of State and may exacerbate the tense relationship between China and the Western world as NATO has also voiced concerns. US officials mention that the balloons showed they had surveillance equipment that could intercept telecommunications as well as a solar array to power multiple sensors. The Weekender