National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
The White House said Friday that the unidentified object, which lacked the ability to maneuver, “poses a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight.”
The nature of the craft was unknown, although Kirby said it was much smaller than the alleged spy balloon that crossed the United States last week before being shot down off South Carolina. The Pentagon hopes to recover the object because it fell on the ice.
News of the shooting comes as the United States is set to blacklist Chinese companies over what the Biden administration claims are links to a global balloon spy program, people familiar with the matter have said , as tension continued to mount over an episode that plunged relations between Washington and Beijing to a new low.
The White House was expected to announce sanctions against Chinese entities as early as Friday afternoon, delivering on promises made by several officials to target companies linked to what they see as a China spying campaign that targets at least 40 countries. .
It’s all part of a US effort to shed light on what the administration says is increasingly aggressive Chinese surveillance and persuade other nations of the threat. Chinese officials have insisted the balloon that was shot down last week was a weather monitoring device that veered off course.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Friday that the balloon was a civilian craft and that its transit through the United States last week was an “isolated and unexpected incident”.
Biden said the alleged spying incident did not seriously harm US-China relations, but it was a violation of US sovereignty and the United States would defend its national security against threats. such threats. At the same time, it was criticized by Republican lawmakers who said the balloon should never have been allowed to cross the continental United States for a week before being shot down.
As the United States and China continued their feud and the national struggle raged, search teams scoured the ocean off the coast of South Carolina for electronic components from the Chinese balloon. ABC News reported Friday that the balloon’s main landing gear was located underwater and is largely intact. The report, which cites unidentified US officials, says the equipment has not yet been recovered.
“There is an operation underway to recover the components of the balloon,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said Friday. “We are analyzing them to learn more about the surveillance program.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation released photographs showing officers examining the balloon’s white canopy and helping steer ships through the water in search of new materials. In a call Thursday, FBI officials told reporters that the office did not yet have access to the balloon’s primary payload.
In a series of briefings and hearings with lawmakers, U.S. officials said there was no doubt the balloon was a surveillance device used in a program run by the People’s Army of liberation from China. They said it was carrying equipment with sensors designed to pick up communications signals and pointed to the fact that it had flown over sensitive US military sites while in transit through the United States.
The Biden administration said the manufacturer of the device, which it did not name, had a direct relationship with the People’s Liberation Army.
Attention has also focused on how China sourced the parts that go into the balloon’s payload, as lawmakers debated whether President Joe Biden should have done more to limit the export. of sensitive technologies to China. People familiar with the matter said lawmakers were told on Thursday the ball had Western-made components with English writing on it.
China’s charge d’affaires in Washington, Xu Xueyuan, said at a virtual conference hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council on Wednesday that the two nations “should not let this incident offset efforts to stabilize relations.”
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