The US Coast Guard blocked the access of boats to the area where the Chinese spy balloon fell

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Authorities have indicated that the goal is to protect local citizens “from potential dangers associated with physical objects”

The US Coast Guard blocked the access of vessels to the area where the Chinese spy balloon fell. Chinese spy balloon hit

US Coast Guard ships were deployed to the area where the Chinese spy balloon crashed (AP)

The United States Coast Guard reported Monday that it is imposing a temporary security zone in the waters off Surfside Beach (South Carolina), in the area where the US military shot down the Chinese spy balloon on Saturday .

The 10 nautical mile (18 kilometer) buffer zone blocks entry of vessels without Coast Guard permission andit aims to protect the public “from potential dangers associated with physical objects”. The restricted zone will apply until February 18.

Navy ships on Sunday and the Coast Guard traveled to the area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean where the remains of the Chinese balloon fell, in search of clues that would clarify whether it was an espionage device or if it had investigative purposes.

The authorities also asked the local population for help, to prevent citizens from interfering in the investigations. The Horry County Police, in South Carolina, asked citizens to raise the alarm if they see any suspicious objects: “Do not touch, move or remove the remains.”

The balloon was sighted for the first time last Tuesday over Montana (northeast), where one of the country's three nuclear missile silo fields is located.

After the Pentagon confirmed the existence of the device, China admitted that the balloon belonged to it, although it assured that it was a civilian airship used for meteorological research purposes, a version to which the United States does not believe.

The US Coast Guard blocked vessel access to the area where the Chinese spy balloon went down

The US shot down the Chinese spy balloon (REUTERS/Randall Hill)

According to data provided by the United States Government, the Chinese balloon, the size of two buses entered the national territory through Alaska on 28 January, it passed Canada on the 30th and re-entered the United States, over Idaho, on the 31st. It crossed the country until it reached the Atlantic this Saturday, where it was finally shot down.

Meanwhile, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, reported this Sunday that the US Department of Defense will inform the Senate in the coming days about the Chinese spy balloon and the diplomatic crisis with China that it has unleashed.

Schumer, who was already informed about On Sunday, he told a news conference in New York that the entire Senate “will receive a broader and more comprehensive briefing on China next week,” and expressed his hope that there would be no partisan divisions.

The spokesman for the White House Security Council, John Kirby , defended this Monday the action of the United States in shooting down the Chinese spy balloon, stating that international law was respected.

< p class="paragraph">In a conversation with the press, Kirby insisted that the United States has sufficient evidence that the balloon was looking to spy on sensitive sites, but downplayed the incident and maintained that “there is no reason” for the tensions in the bilateral relationship “to result in any type of conflict”.

For its part, the Chinese regime insisted today that the balloon was “for civilian use” and had an “investigative” purpose, especially in the field of the “meteorology”.

The US Coast Guard blocked vessel access to the area where the Chinese spy balloon went down

John Kirby, spokesman of the White House Security Council (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

“The ship unexpectedly deviated from its course due to force majeure,” the Ministry spokeswoman said at a press conference of Foreign Affairs of China Mao Ning, who added that China “always respects international laws and the national sovereignty of countries”.

Mao noted that the US reaction was “exaggerated” to what it described as an “isolated incident.” “This matter should be dealt with calmly without the use of force,” the spokeswoman said.

She also assured that she “had no information to share” about which company she might belong to the destroyed aircraft. “We reserve the right to respond appropriately,” concluded the official.

(With information from Reuters and AFP)

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