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Chinese spy balloon flying over US airspace, says Pentagon | US News


The US military is monitoring a hot air balloon suspected of Chinese spying over the US northwest in recent days.

A senior defense official said WE has “very high confidence” that it is a high-altitude Chinese balloon and is flying over sensitive locations to collect information.

“Clearly the purpose of this balloon is surveillance,” the official said.

China has not yet commented.

Hot air balloons spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday – near one of three US nuclear missile sites at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

It also flew over the Aleutian Islands, off the coast alaskaand passed Canada.

The balloon remained in US airspace, but officials declined to say where it is now.

They acknowledged it was operating above civil air traffic and below “outer space” but declined to say how high it was flying.

Military and defense leaders considered shooting the balloon out of the sky but decided against it due to the potential safety risk posed by falling debris.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of senior military and defense leaders to review the balloon’s threat profile and possible responses, which were presented. to the President of the United States Joe Biden on Wednesday.

The United States has joined Chinese people officials “urgently” and communicate the severity of the situation.

Read more: Mike Pompeo: China ‘wants world domination and is a bigger threat than Vladimir Putin’

Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said: “The US government has detected and is monitoring an high-altitude surveillance balloon that is flying over the continental United States right now.

“The US government including Norad (North American Aerospace Defense Command), continues to monitor and monitor it closely.

“The hot air balloon is currently traveling at a much higher altitude than commercial air traffic and poses no military or physical threat to those on the ground.

“Instances of this type of ballooning activity have been observed before in the past few years.

“After the balloon was detected, the US government took immediate action to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”

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China and the US have recently experienced tensions and conflicts over Taiwan and China’s human rights record as well as its military activities in the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit China in the coming days.

It is unclear if this will affect his travel plans, which the State Department has not officially announced.

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