Pentagon monitoring Chinese spy balloon above the US


Defense officials announced Thursday that the United States is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, a discovery that risks further straining already fragile US-China relations.
Chinese balloonPhoto

The US government has been tracking the balloon over the northern United States for several days, according to Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. He added that the balloon is "traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and poses no military or physical threat to people on the ground."

A senior US defense official stated that senior military authorities persuaded President Joe Biden not to shoot it down out of concern that the debris could pose a threat to the safety of those on the ground.

The senior defense official stated, "We are convinced that this high-altitude surveillance balloon belongs to the People's Republic of China."

Instances of this behavior have been documented throughout the previous many years, including before the current government.

Despite the fact that the balloon's current flight route takes it over "a number of sensitive areas," according to the official, there is no serious risk of information gathering.

The value of the balloon in terms of intelligence collection is estimated to be limited, the person noted.

According to the official, the U.S "Taking precautions still to prevent the gathering of sensitive information by foreign intelligence. We are also monitoring the balloon's potential for insight-gathering and continue to observe its flight across the continental United States."

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stated on Friday that the balloon mistakenly crossed U.S. airspace. "It is a civilian airship used primarily for meteorological research. Due to the Westerlies and its limited self-steering ability, the airship veered significantly from its intended path.

Due to force majeure, the Chinese side regrets the accidental entry of the airship into US airspace "The representative said in a statement.

According to a second defense official, the United States believes that Chinese surveillance satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of providing comparable or superior intelligence, limiting the usefulness of whatever information Beijing may obtain from the three-bus-sized high-altitude balloon.

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