US tracking Chinese ‘Spy’ balloon spotted over US airspace

On Thursday, the Pentagon said that a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was supported in US airspace but they decided not to shoot it down as it may cause harm to people on the ground. On the other hand, the floating ‘spy’ balloon has impacted further strain on the two countries. It happened days ahead of US State Secretary Antony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Beijing.

The Pentagon said that they are tracking the Chinese balloon flying over Montana, home of one of the US’s three nuclear missile launch facilities at Malmstrom Air Force Base. In the meantime, US President Joe Biden has been briefed about the incident.

In a press briefing, the Pentagon added that similar balloons have been spotted in the past as well and the US has taken actions to make sure it does not collect sensitive information. “Clearly the intent of this balloon is for surveillance,” a senior US defence official told reporters on Thursday.

The official added that “We have communicated to them the seriousness with which we take the issue. Currently, we assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective, but we are taking steps nevertheless to protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information.