The United States (US) shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over US airspace for a couple of days.
- These cheap, quiet and hard-to-reach balloons have been used for reconnaissance purposes, including in conflicts like the American Civil War.
- The practice became widespread during World War I and was used extensively during the Cold War when the US launched hundreds of balloons to gather intelligence on the Soviet Union and China.
- While their use has declined with the rise of unmanned drones and satellites, many countries still employ spy balloons.
- Purpose of Sending the Balloon is China has for decades complained about US surveillance by ships and spy planes near its own territory, leading to occasional confrontations over the years.
- According to China, the balloon was for research but got off track.