Washington on Saturday shot down the Chinese balloon that had been flying over the United States for several days, several American media reported.
• Also read: Chinese spy balloon: Airspace of two American states is partially blocked
• Also read: US will ‘deal’ with Chinese ball, Biden says
The balloon, which the Pentagon claims is a spy balloon, was shot down by the US military off the east coast of the United States, according to Fox News and CNN.
In videos broadcast by TV stations, the ball appeared to fall vertically.
Shortly before, air traffic had been suspended at three airports in the southeastern United States as a “national security” measure, the American Civil Aviation Administration (FAA) said. There was one airport in North Carolina and two in South Carolina.
US President Joe Biden said Saturday morning the United States would “deal” with that ball.
Then, early in the afternoon, when journalists asked Mr. Biden if he would give the order to shoot the ball, Biden had simply responded with a thumbs-up.
This affair, which has shaken Washington-Beijing relations, has led to the postponement of the visit of the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, to China.
Beijing, while acknowledging that it was indeed a device made in China, assured that it was a “civilian aircraft used for research purposes, mainly meteorological”.
The plane “deviated from its trajectory,” added a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, expressing his country’s “regret” for this “involuntary” violation of US airspace.