Air Force official says “100 percent clear” Chinese balloon was not civilian craft

A top US Air Force official said on Wednesday that the United States has determined it is “100 percent clear” that the Chinese balloon that was downed off the South Carolina coast over the weekend is not, as Beijing insists, a civilian craft gone adrift.

According to US News, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday, “I can assure this was not for civilian purposes.” The assessment comes after much of the debris and remains from the balloon were retrieved by the United States Navy over the last several days from the Atlantic Ocean. 

Ryder dismissed China’s claims that the balloon had inadvertently entered US airspace and was a civilian balloon. “If, in fact, it was a civilian balloon – a weather balloon – and it was approaching a sovereign nation about to enter their airspace, a responsible nation would have put out some kind of public statement saying, ‘Hey, heads up. This is heading your way. We just want to let you know,’” he said. “The PRC did not do that,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China, the country’s formal name. “They didn’t respond until after they were called out.”

Beijing has also claimed this week that a second balloon, now floating over the Caribbean, is also a civilian balloon blown off course by winds. 

President Biden referred to the balloon incident in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, saying, “I’m committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world. But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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