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Second Chinese “surveillance balloon” flies over Latin America

The Pentagon said a second Chinese “surveillance balloon” was flying over Latin America on Friday (Feb. 3). The information comes after the first balloon was detected in the United States.

“We observed reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess that it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” Defense Department spokesman Pat Ryder said without specifying its exact location.

The US government called the identification of an alleged Chinese spy balloon an “irresponsible act” by Beijing.

In responding to the American statements, the Chinese government said it was an unintentional incident.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a visit to Beijing because of the incident.

“This is an irresponsible act and a clear violation of American sovereignty and international law that undermines the purpose of the trip,” he told him, according to a U.S. State Department spokesman.

“We understand that China regrets this, but the presence of this balloon in our airspace is a clear violation of our sovereignty, as well as international law, and is unacceptable,” said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified.

On Thursday (Feb. 2), the US government said it had “not the slightest doubt” about the origin of the balloon, which flew at high altitude, and the fact that it was used for espionage.

Chinese "surveillance balloon". (Photo internet reproduction)
Chinese “surveillance balloon”. (Photo internet reproduction)

Initially, the Chinese government asked not to exaggerate the issue but eventually acknowledged that it was indeed an apparatus from China.

“It is a civilian aircraft used for scientific purposes, mainly meteorological,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Because of the wind, the balloon “deviated its trajectory,” he said, and added that his country “regrets” that it had entered US airspace by “a greater force.”

“I can tell you that the balloon is heading east and is currently over the center of the country,” at an altitude of 18,000 meters, and will remain in U.S. territory for a few days, the Pentagon spokesman said.

The balloon flies “at an altitude well above that of commercial air traffic and poses no military or a physical threat to people on the ground.”

According to the American press, the balloon flew over the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean and Canada before entering US airspace two days ago.

The object flew over the state of Montana, home to nuclear missile facilities, where fighter planes were mobilized and approached it, a Pentagon official, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday.


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