The US is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted flying over sensitive sites in recent days.
What is a suspected Chinese spy balloon doing above the US?
News that the Pentagon is monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon in the skies over the continental United States raises a series of questions – not least among them, what exactly it might be doing.
US officials have said the flight path of the balloon, first spotted over Montana on Thursday, could potentially take it over a “number of sensitive sites” and say they are taking steps to “protect against foreign intelligence collection.”
But what’s less clear is why Chinese spies would want to use a balloon, rather than a satellite to gather information.
This is not the first time a Chinese balloon has been spotted over the US, but this seems to be acting differently to previous ones, a US defense official said.
“It is appearing to hang out for a longer period of time, this time around, [and is] more persistent than in previous instances. That would be one distinguishing factor,” the official said.
Don’t spies use satellites now?
“The balloon itself is a big target,” the state-backed nationalistic tabloid the Global Times wrote in English on Twitter, which is banned in China. “If balloons from other countries could really enter continental US smoothly, or even enter the sky over certain states, it only proves that the US’s air defence system is completely a decoration and cannot be trusted.”
On Friday afternoon, China Daily said the spy balloon claims were a lie. “To spy on the US with a balloon, one must both fall far behind to use a 1940s technology and be advanced enough to control its flight across the ocean. Those fabricating the lie are only exposing their ignorance,” it said.
Pentagon officials said there was “high confidence” that the balloon was Chinese, and that Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation. The president asked for military options, but it was decided there was too great a danger of debris harming people on the ground were it to be shot down.
The Pentagon said in a statement: “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.”
source : thegaurdian
WASHINGTON — The United States has detected what it says is a Chinese surveillance balloon that has been hovering over the northwestern United States, the Pentagon said on Thursday, a discovery that comes days before Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s visit to Beijing.
source : nytimes
The US believes Chinese spy satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of offering similar or better intelligence, limiting the value of whatever Beijing can glean from the high-altitude balloon, which is the size of three buses, according to another defense official.
source : cnn