The Pentagon has confirmed that they have spotted a suspected 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 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
The Pentagon has clarified that they are confident the balloon belongs to China.
This is a developing story.