A suspected Chinese spy balloon has resurfaced in U.S. airspace — this time over North Carolina.
The plane’s discovery has sparked tensions and a diplomatic row between the two countries. China and us.
The US claimed the craft was a suspected spy balloon and said it was a “clear violation” of US sovereignty.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with President Xi Jinping during his visit to China, delayed after sighting.
China insists it is used for meteorological and other scientific research, but has been blown off course.
Beijing and Washington’s contradictory lines have created uncertainty now rife with theories, with some experts questioning why China would send it for reconnaissance, given that any intelligence gained from the craft is likely to be extremely limited.
Others said it may have been a deliberate attempt to embarrass or irritate the United States by showing how easy it is to gain access to U.S. airspace.
The Puzzling Theory Behind China’s ‘Spy Balloons’
Its latest discovery comes after Mr Blinken spoke with Wang Yi, director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission, about what happened.
Beijing said they discussed how to deal with the unexpected incident in a calm and professional manner.
Also on Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense said the balloon poses “no physical or military threat” to civilians and there is no risk of nuclear or radioactive material on board.
Military leaders decided against shooting it from the sky because of the safety risk of falling debris.
What are “spy balloons” and what do they do?
The object is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, not far from the coast Alaskaand pass Canada before entering the US earlier this week.
The Pentagon says it operates at 60,000 feet and is maneuverable.