China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Feb. 3 that the balloon floating over the northern U.S. was a civilian research craft. It also expressed regret toward the incident.
"The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly [for] meteorological purposes," said an MFA spokesperson. "Affected by the westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course."
"The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure. [We] will continue communicating with the U.S. side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure."
A day before, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman Brig. Gen Pat Ryder confirmed the presence of the balloon.
"The U.S. government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental U.S. right now," he said on Feb. 2, adding that Washington "continues to track and monitor it closely." According to Ryder, similar instances of balloon activity "have been observed previously over the past several years."
The DoD announced on Feb. 4 that an American F-22 fighter jet had shot down the balloon over the waters off of South Carolina. Initially, the Pentagon decided against shooting down the aircraft over concerns about "the risk of debris" – but later pushed through with downing the balloon. (Related: Trump called on Biden to 'shoot down' suspected Chinese spy balloon discovered floating over central U.S.)
The following day, the MFA released a statement denouncing Washington's move to shoot down the spy balloon. The statement reiterated that Beijing reserves the right to "take further actions" against what it called "an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice."
"China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserve the right to take further actions in response," the MFA wrote.
Several members of the Republican Party in both chambers of Congress denounced the Biden administration for its slow response on an issue that concerns U.S. national security. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remarked that President Joe Biden "cannot be silent" on the issue and demanded a stronger response.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said: "Allowing a spy balloon from the [Chinese Communist Party] to travel across the entire continental U.S. before contesting its presence is a disastrous projection of weakness by the White House."
Meanwhile, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) tweeted: "Now that this embarrassing episode is over, we need answers from the Biden administration on the decision-making process. Communist China was allowed to violate American sovereignty unimpeded for days. We must be better prepared for future provocations and incursions by the CCP."
Aside from Wicker and Tillis, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined their colleagues in blasting the Biden administration's slow response on Chinese incursion.
Outside the U.S., the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) denounced the spy balloon in a statement. It remarked that such actions by Beijing "contravene international law, breach the airspace of other countries and violate their sovereignty."
"The government of [Taiwan] notes that these instances should not be tolerated by the civilized international community," MOFA said. "The [Communist Chinese] regime should immediately cease conduct of this kind that encroaches on other countries and causes regional instability."
Taiwanese lawmaker Chen Yun-peng also put in his two cents on the matter. According to him, any spy balloons Beijing sends over the island nation should be shot down immediately because "they should not be there in the first place."
Listen to the Health Ranger Mike Adams as he elaborates on the possibility that the Chinese spy balloon is actually an EMP weapons platform.
This video is from the Health Ranger Report on Brighteon.com.