China, which has claimed all along that the Spy Balloon that drifted around the United States in recent days was merely a weather balloon, fired the chief of their weather agency, Zhuang Guota. Guota led the China Meteorological Administration, the Chinese equivalent of the National Weather Service in the U.S.. Guota was fired before the U.S. shot down one balloon off of the Carolina coast.
“The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the U.S. due to force majeure was totally unexpected,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a Saturday statement.
While the firing is in line with China’s official stance that this balloon was a weather observing device, it is also known Guota was due to step down soon after winning an election last month to lead the western Gansu province’s People’s Political Consultative Committee.
The Pentagon has been adamant that this was a spy balloon on a surveillance mission over sensitive U.S. sites. The Pentagon also disclosed that another similar spy balloon has crashed into the Pacific off the coast of Hawaii just months ago. That incident was not disclosed to the public until today, nearly after a week after the latest balloon drifted around America.
The Biden administration said that there were other Chinese Spy Balloon incidents during the Trump administration, but Trump and top national security officials said that did not occur and criticized the current administration for spreading disinformation to escape blame for this week’s event.
“It never happed with us under the Trump administration, and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately,” President Trump said. “It is disinformation.”
The Pentagon has also confirmed that a third spy balloon is flying over portions of Central America, although the specific location and airspace it is traveling through has not yet been confirmed.