US shoots down alleged Chinese spy balloon


An alleged Chinese spy balloon, which Beijing claims is a weather balloon that flew off-course, was shot down over US territory in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4. The Langley Air Base dispatched an F-22, currently the most advanced fighter jet in the world, to shoot it down.

China has denounced the shooting, stating that it was an overreaction by the United States and a violation of international practice. According to US Intelligence, the balloon was showing evidence of being remotely controlled and flying over key US military locations. The US Navy is conducting a large-scale search in the Atlantic, wanting to recover any potential information from the Chinese equipment.

“I think the US response was reasonable. The Chinese balloon was flying over Montana, where many US intercontinental missile silos are,” Peter Kim (12), History Honor Society member, said. “China could be finding out their specific locations to target them along with other US military bases, which would constitute a national emergency.”

This event is reminiscent of the 1960 U2 Incident during the Cold War when at the height of US-Soviet tensions, an American U2 spy plane was shot down deep into Soviet airspace. America had claimed that the plane was collecting weather data, similar to what the Chinese are claiming now.

“This is not the only such balloon that has been identified as having originated from China, with at least one more having been spotted in recent days over Latin America. Regardless, their presence raises some unnerving questions,” James Kowalski, APUSH teacher, said. “This event is geopolitically significant, or the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not have canceled his visit to China.”

This was the first ever recorded kill by an F-22, an advanced fighter never used before. With the worsening global tensions and advancing military technologies, the coming years could see more of these weapons being used.