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Pentagon Downs Chinese Balloon, Blinken Cancels China Trip as Beijing Accuses U.S. of Overreacting

HeadlineFeb 06, 2023

The Pentagon shot down a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina Saturday, several days after it was first spotted over Montana — a state that’s home to a major military base and silos holding scores of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The high-altitude balloon’s appearance over the United States prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a planned trip to Beijing, accusing China of “unacceptable and irresponsible” spying.

China’s Defense Ministry claimed the balloon was a weather research station that had blown off course, and accused the U.S. of an “obvious overreaction.” On Capitol Hill, Republican leaders were quick to accuse President Biden of “weakness” and said he failed to shoot down the balloon quickly enough. A Pentagon official responded by telling reporters there were at least three similar incursions of Chinese balloons during the Trump administration.

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