Shot Down Spy Balloon Causes International Tension

Jahaziel Estes, Reporter

The downing of a Chinese balloon off of the US coast has been followed by three more devices, raising international tensions. 


The first suspected balloon had been flying across the US, including over sensitive military bases, and was later shot down by a US fighter jet off the South Carolina coast on February 4th.


Less than a week later, on Friday, February 10th, US fighter jets downed another object over frozen waters around northern Alaska, and the very next day, a US F-22 jet, acting on US and Canadian orders, downed a “high-altitude airborne object” over Canada’s central Yukon territory.


According to The Hill, US Senate majority leader Charles Schumer said that the two objects were likely balloons as well, “but much smaller than the first one”.


The Pentagon said the balloons were part of a “fleet” that has spanned five continents so far.


According to the Washington Post, the Biden Administration is calling this incident a sophisticated effort to surveil “more than 40 countries across five continents.”


Many people worry about the potential threat these suspected spy devices bring and what it means for Americans. 


However, the Pentagon assures people that the spy balloon does not give China capabilities above what they already have from spy satellites or other means.


Accruing to CNN, General. Glenn VanHerck, the commander of US Northern Command and NORAD said, “We did not assess that it presented a significant collection hazard beyond what already exists in actionable technical means from the Chinese.”


However, this isn’t the first time that a suspicious device has been spotted as U.S. officials have acknowledged surveillance balloons have been seen floating in US airspace several times over the last few years


Evidently, the Chinese are not new to these types of efforts. 


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said,“The balloon over the United States confirms a pattern of Chinese behavior where we see that China has invested heavily in new capabilities, including different types of surveillance and intelligence platforms.” 


In fact, many more countries have reported spotting suspicious technology from the Chinese on multiple occasions.


Colombia’s military said that it had spotted a “balloon-like object” in its airspace.


According to the U.S. Department of, ”This surveillance balloon purposely traversed the United States and Canada and we are confident it was seeking to monitor sensitive military sites.” 


In addition, Taiwan says ‘dozens’ of Chinese spy balloons have entered its Airspace in recent years. 


Amidst many speculations about what is going on in the sky above Americans and many other countries, international tensions rise and people are demanding answers.