My respect to the Chinese
They dare to violate the US airspace.
Nah, they did this all the time, we also do that, Russia do that, it's just the matter of whether or not you get caught, and whether or not the government publish such report. Which I found that odd they did it now when the Chinese has been doing this since at least 2000.
As I said before, these intrusion would become international incident ONLY if they were detected, and most of the time the government will let them pass by in order to maintain the integrity of their intelligence (They know but you think you get the goods so you won't do anything like changing its course or attempting another way to penetrate) which mean DoD is talking about it is strange.
it's not a spy balloon, I think it's more like a feasibility demonstration of weaponized balloons. We used to have such feasibility study around early 2010s that aim to dump nasty things onto Japan with westerlies-riding balloons during war time, the technology must be pretty matured by now.
For example a balloon that carries radioactive waste only cost like 0.01% of an ICBM + nuclear warhead, but basically does a same job.
You can't weaponize balloon...It's not the same thing you have a missile travelling down March 2-5 from 100,000 AGL and a balloon that flow from 60,000 ft and slowly float to wherever you want to attack. It's like you are trying to ride a bike to bomb your target...
I mean, there are nothing stopping anyone to do that, China can of course do that, again, there are no point of such a thing.