US warplanes have shot down a Chinese high-altitude balloon over the Atlantic Ocean after it had crossed the entire US and caused a diplomatic rift between the two countries.
The balloon, which China said is for meteorological purposes but the US insists has been spying, could be seen on television collapsing and falling from the sky.
Earlier, Joe Biden told reporters that “we’re going to take care of it,” and the president was reported to have given the order for it to be shot down over the ocean, after several days flying at 60,000 feet over the US.
The US military had warned that a shoot-down over land could risk casualties on the ground.
An aviation exclusion area was declared off the North Carolina coast before fighter jets were launched. US officials told US reporters the balloon had been shot down within the 12-mile limit of US territorial waters. A salvage operation was reported to be under way to recover fragments of the destroyed aircraft.
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