Canada helps China release hot air balloons

The federal defense minister said Canada “fully supports” the US government’s decision to shoot down a high-altitude surveillance balloon suspected of spying for China, noting that the balloon entered violated Canadian airspace.

Warplanes shot down the hot air balloon off the coast of Carolina on Saturday afternoon after it flew over sensitive military sites across North America.

Anita Anand released a statement hours later saying that she and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were briefed on the operation by the national security and intelligence adviser as well as the chief of staff of defense, which began on Thursday night. Six and continue on Saturday

She said Canada worked closely with its American partners on this decision and went on to thank the United States for its close cooperation.

A Pentagon official described the object as a controllable surveillance balloon, flying at an altitude of about 18,288 meters, with a “payload” or basket underneath.

On Friday, Anand’s office declined to comment on whether the balloon passed through Canadian airspace, but her statement Saturday said it “violated the airspace of the United States and Canada as well as International law.”

“Officials in the national security community who have worked in both countries and Canada have engaged closely with their U.S. counterparts on this decision and clearly support the actions taken,” Anand said. said in the statement.

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday he ordered US officials to shoot down the balloon earlier this week and national security leaders had decided the best time for the operation. is when it moves across the water.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the hot air balloon, a civilian airship mainly used for meteorological research, “had deviated from plan” because of the wind.

Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said officials had summoned Chinese Ambassador Cong Peiwu to express disagreement over the balloon’s appearance.

US officials also announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken was postponing a diplomatic trip scheduled for the weekend to China.

Pentagon officials said one of the locations where the balloons were discovered was in Montana, home to one of three US nuclear missile sites at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Anand noted Saturday that NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, had “tracked and analyzed the trajectory and actions” of the balloon.

“The partnership between Canada and the United States through NORAD ensures the security and protection of North American air sovereignty, and we thank their members for having this watch,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 4, 2023.

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