Was the Chinese Spy Balloon Shot Down By US Military?

On Friday, the United States experienced an alarming intrusion by what is believed to be a high-altitude spying balloon from China. It was sighted in various areas of the country and raised considerable concern.

What exactly was the balloon doing up there hovering around at 60,000 feet? Did the US military shoot down the balloon? Let’s take a look at what happened and what this means.

Explosion Over Billings?

An apparent explosion over Billings, Montana and active military AO (Area of Operations) had some speculating that the spy balloon was shot down.

City officials did not confirm and said no reports of an explosion were seen; although footage of the explosion was published on social media.

However, after that point, people also reported seeing what appeared to be the same spy balloon as far east as Missouri; the Pentagon and others say the balloon was not shot down.

Especially of deep concern is that Montana has one of the three nuclear missile field sites at Malmstrom Airforce Base. Missouri houses Whiteman Airforce Base and key aspects of the US stealth bomber squadron.

This looks a lot like China’s communist regime eyeing up the US-ready-armed nuclear capability on airfields and assessing aerial capability.

At this point, it is unclear exactly where the spy balloon is; although it was moving toward the central US according to the latest reports and is expected to be over the US for a “few” more days according to the Pentagon.

A second spy balloon was also sighted flying over various areas of South America. What is clear is this is having a big impact. US Secretary of State Blinken has already scratched a trip he was planning to China to work on US-China relations.

When Did This Threat Emerge?

US Defense officials have been watching this balloon since early in the week, which is when Joe Biden was also told about it.

Biden originally wanted it shot down and fighter jets were scrambled to do so. Yet, Biden’s woke Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and woke Joint Chiefs head General Mark Milley told him not to shoot it down.

They said the massive balloon as big as three double-decker buses could create a dangerous disaster and shrapnel for civilians on the ground. However, officials said steps were taken to hide any valuable intel from the balloon.

China says this was just a weather dirigible that got off course due to wind.

Any claim of espionage is “groundless” according to top Chinese official Wang Yi, who added that “hype” and “misjudgments” about what happened should be avoided.

China Preparing for War?

Blinken says he will still go to China to talk once the “conditions” are right and “communication” will still be open with the communist regime.

Biden made no comment. Senator Eric Schmitt of Missouri called the intrusion and lack of shooting down the balloon “unbelievable.”

China aggressively prevents any spy attempts on its territory and once pressured a US spy plane to land, taking its crew hostage on Hainan Island in China.

What’s clear is if this was a spy balloon as it appears, the US needs to start taking these events much more seriously. That means taking measures to defend against China’s dictatorial leader Xi Jinping and his imperial agenda.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.