Pentagon monitors Chinese spy balloon over North America

The United States and Canada were tracking Friday, February 3 at least one Chinese spy balloon flying at high altitude for several days over North America and sensitive military sites. The Pentagon announced Thursday the presence of the balloon in the airspace of the United States, and the Canadian government said Friday to investigate. “a second potential incident”.

At the request of President Joe Biden, the Pentagon considered shooting down the balloon, which had been detected for about two days, but the decision was made not to do so due to the risks posed by the debris to those on the ground. , a senior US defense official told reporters on Thursday, on condition of anonymity.

“We have no doubt that the ball is from China”he specified. “We take steps to protect ourselves against the collection of sensitive information”he said again, while insisting on “the limited added value in terms of information gathering” of the machine, described as a balloon with fairly large dimensions.

A balloon “intended for surveillance”

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said the United States and Canadian Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) was monitoring the path of the balloon. “The balloon is currently flying at an altitude well above commercial air traffic. It poses no military or physical threat to people on the ground.”he said in a statement.

“Clearly, this balloon is intended for surveillance and its current trajectory takes it over sensitive sites” including air bases and strategic missile silos, said the first American official, referring to the state of Montana, in the northwestern United States.

The balloon entered United States airspace “about two days ago” but US intelligence was already monitoring it, the same source said, adding that this was not the first time the US military had seen such an intrusion.

The Government of Canada spoke on Friday “a second potential incident” after Washington’s announcement. “Canadians are safe and Canada is taking steps to ensure the safety of its airspace, including monitoring for a potential second incident”said the Ministry of National Defense.

The case raised with the Chinese authorities

Washington raised the case with the Chinese authorities. “We communicated to them the seriousness of the incident.said the American official. We made it clear to them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people on our territory. »

Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy on Thursday evening denounced a “destabilizing action” of a China that “shamelessly disregards the sovereignty of the United States. » He called Joe Biden to “not to be silent” and asked that members of Congress be briefed.

Antony Blinken’s trip to China, scheduled for Sunday and Monday, should be the first visit to the country by a US secretary of state since October 2018.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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