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US confirms Chinese ‘spy balloon’ entered its airspace



The United States have confirmed that a Chinese “spy baloon” had entered its airspace on Thursday, with the Pentagon saying it has been monitoring the balloon since it entered US airspace.

In a statement on Friday, the Pentagon said the balloon was spotted flying above civilian air traffic but does not pose a threat to internal security.

The Pentagon said it is tracking the suspected spy balloon as it flies over the western United States, and has been flying over US skies for a few days now.

A senior official in the US defense ministry who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said it was a clear case of surveillance.

The official said the balloon which was first spotted over Montana, has a flight path that would carry it over several sensitive sites, but did not provide specific details.

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“Montana is home to one of three US nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base. So clearly, the intent of this balloon is for surveillance,” he said.

Another official said that the US has taken “custody” of the balloon once it entered the country’s airspace and has been monitoring it since with the help of military aircraft.

“US military leaders had considered shooting down the balloon with F-22 fighter jets but ultimately decided against it because of the potential safety risk posed by the debris,” the official said.

Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder added that the balloon was flying “at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”

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