The U.S. military is monitoring a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over northern China. In fact, at first military and defense leaders thought to shoot it down from the sky, although later the idea was rejected because of its possible danger.
Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder has announced that they continue to “track and monitor closely,” he told NBC News.
A senior US administration official confirmed that Biden had been briefed and received a “strong recommendation” that the balloon not be shot down.
“We are currently assessing that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence-gathering perspective beyond what the People’s Republic of China can do by other means,” Ryder said.
This type of activity is unprecedented, with China flying stratospheric balloons like this before, but the difference this time is that the balloon stays over the U.S. longer than usual.
For its part, the Chin Foreign Ministry urges the United States to deal with this matter “calmly and prudently.”
According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing has not denied that the balloon is not theirs although it has affirmed that it “had no intention” of violating US airspace.
“I want to emphasize that before the facts are clear, any speculation and exaggeration do not lead to the solution of the problem,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Friday.
“China is a responsible country and has always respected international law. We have no intention of violating the territory or airspace of any sovereign state,” Mao said.