Chinese ‘spy balloon’ spotted in American skies, Pentagon says
Chinese Spy Balloon: The balloon is said to be flying over the northwest region of US where there are sensitive airbases and strategic missiles, AFP reported.
The Pentagon said that it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States that could be surveilling highly sensitive nuclear weapons sites. A senior US defense official told AFP that top military officials considered shooting the balloon down but did not execute the same fearing that it may endanger many people on the ground.
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The balloon is said to be flying over the northwest region of US where there are sensitive airbases and strategic missiles, AFP reported quoting an unnamed official who said, “Clearly, the intent of this balloon is for surveillance, and the current flight path does carry it over a number of sensitive sites. We assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective.”
The balloon entered US airspace "a couple days ago," the official added. Fighter jets examined the balloon while it was above Montana as discussions took place between top military officials, AFP reported.
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Pentagon decision was "not to take kinetic action due to the risk to safety and security of people on the ground from the possible debris field," the official said.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said, “The balloon is currently travelling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic. It does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”
Earlier as well, China has sent surveillance balloons over the United States in the past, the official told AFP adding that the issue has been raised with Beijing officials.
“We have communicated to them the seriousness of the issue. We have made clear we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people in our own land,” the official said.