US shuts three airports amid China balloon controversy
United States aviation authorities on Saturday closed down three airports in the eastern part of the country due to a “national security effort” amid controversy over a suspected Chinese spy balloon in US skies.
Arrivals and departures were paused at three airports in the states of South and North Carolina “to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” the Federal Aviation Administration told AFP in a statement.
The US military also on Saturday shot down a Chinese balloon off the country’s east coast, American media reported, hours after President Joe Biden vowed to “take care” of the suspected spy device.
Fox News and CNN reported the operation after three southeastern airports were temporarily shut down earlier in the day amid what the Federal Aviation Administration called a “national security effort.”
A US fighter aircraft downed over US territorial waters the spy balloon that had spent days flying above the country as a response to China’s “unacceptable violation,” the Pentagon said.
“Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President (Joe) Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.