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World News | US rules out sending balloon debris back to China

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The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (PTI) — The United States on Monday ruled out returning to China fragments of a surveillance balloon that was shot down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.

Last week, from Montana to South Carolina, the U.S. military stepped up efforts to collect the wreckage of a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon.

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The White House confidently said Monday that preliminary information gathered from the balloon was a surveillance balloon. Officials say this violates international law and its sovereignty.

“I know of no such intent or plan to return it,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, adding that the U.S. military has recovered some remnants from the surface and they are still collecting them from underwater.

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Kirby said they had gathered enough important information about the balloon before it was shot down by a fighter jet on Saturday.

“We’re still analyzing the information we were able to gather from the balloon before we shot it out of the sky, and now that we’re going to recover it, I suspect we might learn a lot more,” he said.

He told reporters that the balloon was not only drifting, but had propellers and steering to provide a degree of control, even as it was swept by high-altitude jet stream winds.

“The balloon does have the ability to steer itself — accelerate, decelerate and steer. So it has a propeller, it has a rudder, and you can make it change direction if you want,” Kirby said.

According to Northern Command Commander General Glenn Van Heek, the balloon reached a height of 200 feet. It carries a payload weighing thousands of pounds, roughly the size of a regional jet, he said.

“We believe that China’s irresponsible behavior is obvious to the United States and the world. Not only that, but at the same time a second Chinese surveillance balloon was seen flying over Latin America,” White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.

“China has a responsibility to show that it means serious what it says as a responsible country, and it wants to build on the president’s recent meeting with President Xi. So it’s up to China to decide what kind of relationship they want,” she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a trip to China as the balloon drifted over the American continent.

According to Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden directed the military and intelligence community to collect the balloons so they could learn more about China’s capabilities and trade practices.

“At the same time, we prevent Chinese intelligence gathering because we know exactly where the balloon is going,” she said.

“The military recommended that the balloon be landed on water after military commanders determined that the balloon presented an undue risk of debris posing harm to civilians over land in Alaska, Canada, or the continental United States,” she said.

“On Wednesday, the President directed the military to shoot it down at the first opportunity if it could be done safely, especially as we consider the lives of Americans and the safety of being there, while maximizing our ability to recover payloads. ability,” she said.

Shooting down balloons over water is not only the safest option, it also maximizes the chances of recovering the payload, giving the U.S. a better chance of extracting information from Chinese surveillance balloon payloads.

“But I think the bottom line here is we want to be very clear about what it looks like, what China is doing is unacceptable,” Jean-Pierre said.

“We protect civilians and gain more intelligence while protecting our own sensitive information,” she said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that China knew exactly what that was.

“Ultimately, the course of action is set and executed by the Department of Defense. I just don’t want to give too much oxygen when it comes to what we hear from China. Let me see if I can make it as clear as possible that the People’s Republic of China clearly know what it is,” he said.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) knows exactly why this is in our airspace. China knows exactly what this did to the United States. Ultimately, the People’s Republic of China knows exactly why we did what we did.” Secretary of State Pointing out on Friday, if the shoe is the other foot, if something like that happens inside Chinese airspace, you can only imagine Beijing’s reaction,” Price said.

He asserted that since the detection of the high-altitude surveillance balloon, the United States has taken practical steps to weaken its ability to gather intelligence on sensitive locations in order to mitigate any threat it may pose to the American people.

“What’s more, we kind of changed the script because we’ve trained quite a bit of our own capabilities on this high-altitude surveillance balloon that violated our airspace,” he said.

“We’ve learned a lot in general practice, the technology on board. Active efforts are underway to recover what is left of this high-altitude surveillance balloon on the surface. Over the next few days we will be working to collect what we can from the sea floor, said Price.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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