U.S. downing of spy balloon an 'overreaction' - China

STORY: An "obvious overreaction".

That's what the Chinese defense ministry called the U.S. shooting down of an unmanned Chinese airship in the United States.

China reserves the right to use the necessary means to deal with similar situations, said Tan Kefei, a ministry spokesman, in a statement on Sunday (February 5). He did not elaborate.

A U.S. military fighter jet shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday (February 4), a week after it first entered U.S. airspace.

President Joe Biden told reporters he had issued an order on Wednesday (February 1) to take down the balloon.

An F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia took the shot, using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile, a senior U.S. military official said.

The whole saga has put further strain Sino-U.S. relations.

China strongly condemned the military strike, saying the was used for meteorological and other scientific purposes, and had strayed into U.S. airspace "completely accidentally".

The suspected spy balloon prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a visit to China this week.

A blow to those who saw it as an overdue opportunity to stabilize an increasingly fractious relationship between the two countries.