Pentagon Claims Second Chinese Surveillance Balloon Detected Over Latin America

A screenshot depicting an unidentified balloon over US skies.InternationalIndiaAfricaReports of the high-altitude balloon have prompted a multitude of Chinese spying accusations despite confirmation from the Chinese government that the balloon was a civilian device used for meteorological research.The US Department of Defense revealed late Friday that a second surveillance balloon reportedly belonging to China was detected “transiting” over Latin America.Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder made the revelation exclusively to CNN. “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” a statement read.The exact coordinates of where the alleged balloon was transiting were not immediately provided by the Pentagon official; however, a US official informed the outlet that it did not appear to be making its way to the US.China has not yet commented on the detection of a second balloon.Earlier Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that the first balloon documented over northern US was indeed Chinese but explained that it was a civilian device used for research purposes, more specifically for meteorological matters.”Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course,” a statement read. “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,” the ministry added at the time.Also Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the postponement of his trip to Beijing in light of the balloon development. The trip had been intended to ease US-China tensions.Reports of the balloon flying over the US surfaced on Thursday, when Pentagon officials detailed that a device had been detected over the US state of Montana as early as Wednesday. However, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted on Friday that defense officials had been tracking the device since at least Tuesday, when US President Joe Biden was briefed on the matter.Defense officials have decided against shooting the device down out of concern of falling debris injuring civilians on the ground.Pentagon Claims Second Chinese Surveillance Balloon Detected Over Latin AmericaMilitaryPentagon: Suspected Chinese Surveillance Balloon Being Tracked Over Northern US3 February, 02:32 GMTAlthough it is not the first time that a balloon was caught transiting over the US, the latest instance proved notable for Pentagon insiders after the device appears to linger over the specified airspace.Since the Pentagon’s Thursday announcement, various US lawmakers have raised the alarm on the development as the balloon appears to be transiting along the location of many of the US’ nuclear missile silos.In fact, US Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote a letter to Austin underscoring the necessity for establishing the balloon’s flight path, warning at the time that the US’ intercontinental ballistic missile fields were target of a “intelligence gathering mission.”It was also reported that the Montana governor had alerted the state’s National Guard, and that air traffic over Billings Logan International Airport had been temporarily halted.


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