US shoots down unidentified object over Northern Alaska: Pentagon
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says another unidentified object was shot down by the US which assessed it could be a risk to civilian aircraft.
The United States shot down on Friday afternoon a high-altitude object over Alaska after assessing it could be a "threat to civilian aircraft," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.
"The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet, and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. President Biden ordered the MIlitary to down the object over Alaska," Kirby said at a press conference.
The unidentified object went down on the northern side of Alaska, close to the Canadian border and the Arctic Ocean, Kirby added.
The Pentagon had been keeping an eye on the object, which was smaller than the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon that the US shot down last week, Kirby added.
"I know of no outreach to the Chinese government about this," said Kirby, when asked if the US had contacted China.
According to Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Friday, an unidentified flying object above Alaska was shot down by an F-22 fighter plane and an AIM-9X missile.
“The aircraft that took down the object was an F-22 flying out of joint base Elmendorf in Alaska, and employed AIM- 9X to take down the object,” Ryder said told a briefing.
Ryder said the decision to shoot the object down took into account a "reasonable" threat to civilian aviation traffic.
In another context, the US Federal Aviation Administration blocked some airspace in northern Alaska and designated it "national defense airspace."
"Pursuant to 49 USC 40103(b)(3), the federal aviation administration (FAA) classifies the airspace defined in this NOTAM as 'ntl defense airspace'. pilots who do not adhere to the following proc may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by law enforcement," the notice said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration also stated that any aircraft deemed to be a security danger could be destroyed by the US government using "deadly force."
It is worth mentioning that diplomatic relations have declined for the past week since the balloon incident, which caused a row, with the US claiming it was a 'spy' balloon and China stating it was for research purposes.
The balloon was located over the North American Aerospace Defense Command on January 28 over Alaska before it got detected over missile sites in Montana. Days later, after tracking, the US decided to shoot it down over the South Carolina coast.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that "China... never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country," adding that "some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China."
Following the incident of the discovery of the balloon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was scheduled to visit China, postponed his visit just hours before he was supposed to depart for Beijing.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing several US officials, that the US intelligence claims that the Chinese balloon was part of a vast surveillance program of China's People's Liberation Army.
Also, White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that Chinese balloons have been spotted in other nations on five different continents before and that the United States is discussing and coordinating this matter with its allies.