The Pentagon has confirmed that they have spotted a suspected, and since confirmed Chinese surveillance balloon that has been moving over northern states over the past several days. President Biden was reportedly briefed on the matter and advised not to order the balloon to be shot down.
According to NBC News, the balloon was initially spotted over Billings, Montana, after it had flown over the Aleutian Islands and through Canada. “China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention to violate the territory and airspace of any sovereign countries,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning during a daily briefing on Friday. Pentagon official Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder gave a briefing on Thursday where he provided the following information:
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government to include Norad, continues to track and monitor it closely. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.
Here is a photo of the balloon over Montana:
Photo purportedly shows Chinese spy balloon spotted over Montana https://t.co/Ggymjix75d
Image credit: Megan Nelson via @YourBigSky pic.twitter.com/1E6XFhTE49
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 2, 2023
At the time, the Pentagon clarified that they are confident the balloon belongs to China, and it has since been confirmed that the balloon does in fact belong to China, as The People’s Republic of China has confirmed that the balloon craft that floated over the northern United States was theirs. Thursday, the Pentagon had confirmed that they had spotted what they suspected to be a “Chinese surveillance balloon,” though now China has taken responsibility.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has claimed that the balloon was not supposed to enter United States airspace, and that it was a civilian research airship. Though the United States did detect and track the craft as it moved across the country in states such as Montana. It however did not seem to be posing a military or physical threat according to the Pentagon.
According to Fox News China issued the following statement,
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed Friday. “Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”
The spokesperson said China regrets the incident.
The statement continued, “The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure. The Chinese side will continue communicating with the US side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure.”
This is a developing story.
The military said not to shoot it down for two reasons… 1: it hasn’t sent all of our secrets to China yet…2: we don’t know its pronouns .
Seriously, at least disable the balloon so it doesn’t have the capability to function.
So the Westerlies did it? I thought Canada was NORTH of Montana, not West.