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HIGH-ALTITUDE OBJECTS

White House says it’s too early to describe the latest two objects downed by fighter jets

A high-altitude balloon, which the US government has stated is Chinese, is seen as it continues its multiday path across the northern United States in Charlotte, North Carolina, US, 4 February 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nell Redmond)

The White House said it’s too early to characterise the two latest objects shot down by US fighter jets over North America after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they are believed to have been high-altitude balloons. 

One of the objects was downed over Alaska on Friday and the other was brought down over Canada on Saturday, following the highly publicised shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast on February 4.

Schumer said on Sunday that he was briefed the previous night by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Asked on ABC’s “This Week” whether the objects were balloons, Schumer said: “They believe they were, yes. But much smaller than the first one.”

A spokesperson for the National Security Council said the objects didn’t closely resemble and were much smaller than the balloon from China that overflew the US for days. The administration won’t definitively characterise them until the debris is recovered, according to the spokesperson.

(Reporting by Jenny Leonard.)

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