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US govt is tracking suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon Chinese Balloon
Image: Twitter video grab

US govt is tracking suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 03 Feb 2023, 08:59 am

Washington: The US government is trying to track a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, media reports said on Friday.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said in a statement: " 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," the spokesperson said.

"  Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," read the statement.

Speaking on background, a senior US defense official was quoted as saying by CNN senior military officials had advised President Joe Biden not to shoot it down due to fear the debris could pose a safety threat to people on the ground.

“We are confident that this high-altitude surveillance balloon belongs to the [People’s Republic of China],” the senior defense official said. “Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration.”