ST PAUL, Minn. — Just three days after U.S. officials say a Chinese spy balloon was spotted over Billings, Montana, the U.S. military shot down the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean Saturday afternoon.
"We're really I think in a pretty dangerous situation right now where we're probably going to see some tit for tat," said Hamline Law Professor David Schultz.
China's Foreign Ministry says the balloon was a civilian weather airship intended for scientific research, blown off course, which U.S. officials dismissed.
"The balloon, which was being used by the People's Republic of China in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States," according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Giving the U.S. the right under international law to take it down according to Professor Schultz.
"The balloon violated U.S. sovereign territory and the United States is clearly within its options in terms of wanting to shoot it down, especially if they suspected it was for the purposes of gathering intelligence or gathering information for surveillance purposes," said Schultz.
So what does this mean for U.S. Chinese relations moving forward?
"The conflicts between China and the United States globally, but especially in the south China Sea and Asia have been escalating for quite awhile, this is certainly not going to do anything to lower the temperature in fact its going to make it an even more difficult complex situation going forward," said Schultz.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement called the act a serious violation of international practice and is now threatening repercussions.
"Enhanced trade wars, they could be cyber attacks on the United States, they could be, although I think its unlikely more direct kind of military confrontation, they could be retaliation against our allies," explained Schultz.
Prompting calls from experts for de-escalation between U.S. and Chinese relations.
"It would make a lot of sense for both the United States and China to find ways of being able to resolve a conflict because we really don't need another war in the world," said Schultz.
The Navy is taking the lead in an operation to recover the remnants of the balloon.
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