U.S. forces shot down a “high-altitude object” off the coast of Alaska on Friday, White House Press Secretary John Kirby said.
The object, which Kirby said was “roughly the size of a small car,” was shot down by a fighter jet on Friday morning local time after passing over land in Alaska and fell into the icy waters near the northeastern border with Canada. rice field.
“The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a substantial threat to civilian flight safety,” Kirby said. “With due diligence and the recommendations of the Pentagon, the President Joe Biden I ordered the military to drop the objects and they did. ”
Discovery of the object comes less than a week after the US shot it down. chinese spy balloon It was floating in North American airspace for several days. A survey of the balloon from an in-flight U-2 reconnaissance plane revealed that it was equipped with an intelligence-gathering antenna.
US Department of Commerce on Friday set 6 Chinese A group of “entity lists” (trade blacklists) related to spy balloons.
He said they were added to the list because of their role in supporting China’s reconnaissance balloon program and other aerospace programs used by the Chinese military for intelligence and reconnaissance operations.
“Today’s actions demonstrate our concerted efforts to identify and stop the use of Chinese surveillance balloons that have violated the airspace of the United States and more than 40 countries.
The targeted groups included Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute, and Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology.
The other three entities were Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group, Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology and Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group.
U.S. companies are prohibited from exporting U.S. technology to listed groups without an export license, but the Department of Commerce has clarified that there is a “presumption of denial” in these cases.
U.S. officials say they have not identified the origin or owner of the second object, or what purpose it was intended to serve.
“I don’t know who owns it,” Kirby said. “It was much smaller than the reconnaissance balloon we shot down last Saturday.”
He added: it is an object. We are still learning more. ”
According to Kirby, unlike China’s balloons, the newest object does not appear to have a “significant payload” nor the ability to fly alone.
He said Biden’s primary motivation for ordering the object shot down was a potential threat to civilian aviation, adding that it was flying at an altitude of 65,000 feet, lower than the reconnaissance balloon shot down last week. rice field.
Kirby said the U.S. learned of the object Thursday night and used fighter jets to fly around it and determine the object was unmanned before shooting it down.
Air Force General Patrick Ryder said he hoped the United States could recover debris that fell into territorial waters after an F-22 fighter shot down an object using an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
Kirby said the frozen water could make it easier to retrieve the object.
Biden faced criticism from Republican lawmakers last week, saying his administration should have shot down the Chinese spy balloon before it crossed the United States.
Military leaders have advised against doing so to avoid potential danger to people on the ground, and defense officials are advised that the increased time in the air means they can collect information about it. He said it was done.