The White House mentioned that their decision to shoot down three objects that were flying over North American airspace was only out of caution. John Kirby said that the objects posed a threat to commercial flights and were only shot down in the best interests of the American people.
Since the recent incursion of a Chinese-suspected spy balloon, the United States is examining its airspace more closely. Beijing has accused Washington of flying its balloons in China. In the past year, the United States has flown balloons into Chinese airspace more than ten times, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
According to Wang Wenbin, it is not unusual for the US to illegally enter the airspace of other countries. Mr. Kirby, speaking from the White House, denied the allegation "We do not fly reconnaissance balloons over China. I am unaware of any other aircraft flying with us into Chinese airspace."
A high-altitude balloon was taken down off the coast of South Carolina on 4 February. The balloon had been moving for days over the US. US officials said, it had originated in China and was used to monitor sensitive military sites, but China denied the object was used for spying and said it was a weather monitoring device that had blown astray.
China refused the object that was used for spying and claimed it was a weather monitoring device that already had strayed from its intended location.
American fighter jets have shot down three high-altitude objects since the first incident. These objects had been flying over Alaska, Michigan, and Canada’s Yukon territory. The administration has been under tremendous pressure to identify the objects.
On Sunday, a Pentagon spokesman appeared to imply that the U.S. had not ruled out the possibility that the objects were extraterrestrial in origin, but on Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied this.
Mr.Kirby said there were differences between the Chinese spy balloon and the three objects that were taken down over the weekend. The objects were not a real threat to people. However, they were taken down to protect the security and interests of people in the US along with flight safety.
Efforts are currently being made to collect debris from the locations where the objects fell, but Mr. Kirby noted that the objects in Alaska and Canada are in distant locations and would be difficult to find in cold weather, whereas the object in Michigan is in the deep waters of Lake Huron.
Beijing was however accused of operating a balloon program for intelligence collection that probably has ties to the Chinese military. The federal police force of Canada reported on Monday that the Yukon territory search area was approximately 3,000 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) and that experts were assessing wind models from Sunday to narrow the search area.
US media reported on Monday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is considering meeting China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, later this week at a conference held in Munich, Germany, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.