After several days, the United States stopped searching for two unidentified flying objects that had also been taken from the sky after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down. According to the army, no debris could be found during the search in the north of the Americas. This was announced by the US Northern Command (Northcom) via Twitter. The two objects had been launched over Alaska and the vast Lake Huron. The rubble may now never be discovered.
A systematic search lasting several days with the help of aerial photographs and sensors did not bring any results, the army said. In Alaska, arctic weather also made work difficult. Canadian authorities also participated in the operations. The US military initially gave no information on a third object shot down over Canada.
Objects were probably used for research
According to US intelligence services, the three objects most likely belonged to private companies or scientific institutions and were on their way for research purposes. US President Joe Biden said on Friday that the missiles were probably not related to the allegations against China. In the meantime there had also been wild speculation about extraterrestrial flying objects. However, the White House has officially denied that any evidence points to aliens.
First, a balloon was discovered in North American airspace which, according to US authorities, was used by China for espionage purposes. The balloon was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on February 4th. According to the army on Friday, the recovery of the rubble has now ended. The remains are now being investigated by the FBI's counterintelligence agency. Beijing speaks of a civilian research balloon that has gone off course.
China has sharply criticized US balloon launch
Meanwhile, the top Chinese foreign policy expert, Wang Yi, sharply criticized the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon by US forces on the Munich security forces. "This is, I would say, absurd and hysterical," Wang said in a question and answer session after his speech at the conference, according to the official English translation. "This is a 100% abuse of the use of force. It is a violation of international rules."
The US violated the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation by shooting it down, Wang said. "We don't accept that." The United States would not have shown any strength in doing so. The opposite is the case. Wang accused the US of wanting to distract from domestic political problems.
Diplomatic exchange at the Munich Security Conference
On Saturday evening, Wang and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, the US delegation confirmed. Blinken addressed the "unacceptable violation of US sovereignty and international law" by the entry of a Chinese surveillance balloon into US airspace, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Blinken also said that such an incident should not be repeated.
Blinken also underlined that the US was not looking for a conflict with China and did not want a new Cold War. However, they will defend their own values, Blinken once again confirmed the statements made by US President Joe Biden. Blinken stressed the importance of ongoing diplomatic dialogue.