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The U.S. military is currently tracking a suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana, according to multiple reports.
“The United States Government has detected and is tracking a high altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder in a statement.
The high-altitude surveillance balloon allegedly floated over the Aleutian islands and Canada before crossing over the airspace of Montana, according to an NBC report that cited three unnamed government officials.
Ryder said that North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected the balloon some days ago and that the military had taken measures to conceal any sensitive information that could be spotted from such a craft.
“The U.S. government, to include NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely,” Ryder said. “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.”
It was just confirmed that the Chinese government currently has a spy balloon flying over the US which shut down the air space over Billings yesterday. This is footage from our reporter Travia outside the @KULR NBC studios of the ballon. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/uhjVeLk69C
— Bradley Warren (@bradmwarren) February 2, 2023
“Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”
The NBC report alleges that military officials including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting to determine whether or not the balloon should be shot down, but ultimately decided against that course of action.
The incident comes as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, is increasing its espionage efforts against the United States and its citizens, and has become increasingly belligerent towards its neighbors in Asia, as well as Western democracies.
Relatedly, it was recently reported that a covert overseas police station operated by China in New York City had been shut down following a reported FBI raid.
Experts have warned with increasing frequency that the CCP is preparing its military for a war to seize Taiwan that would likely draw it into conflict with the United States. As such U.S. officials have said that the regime is studying the United States’ military capabilities and building technologies with the explicit purpose of overcoming them.
The Epoch Times has requested comment from the Pentagon.
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