The Chinese balloon that crossed the US sky from northwest to southeast last week had the technology to pick up intelligence communications and was part of a massive military-linked aerial espionage program targeting more than 40 countries, Washington revealed this Thursday in its first analysis after the downing of the device by a fighter on Saturday.
The spy balloon fleet operates, according to a US communication, under the direction of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and is used for espionage. Similar balloons have flown over all the continents, including Europe, according to the same sources. China admitted over the weekend that the downed balloon was its own, but attributed meteorological functions to it. A second balloon is at an undisclosed point in Latin America.
An official from the US State Department informed the media on Thursday of the findings on the Chinese balloon. This is a response to China’s persistent denials that it is part of a military initiative for international espionage. The communist regime called the downing of the balloon aggression and provocation, saying it will respond in due time.
According to the Ap agency, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, mao ning, said this same Thursday that the balloon was part of a civil meteorological mission, and that it had deviated from its route. The latest US accusations, he said, »may be part of the US information war against China«. The communist regime censors its media and social networks, and has limited information about the globe behind closed doors.
For now, the incursion of the balloon, which Joe Biden only ordered to shoot down when it flew over US territorial waters, has caused the cancellation of a trip by the US diplomatic chief, Antony Blinken, to China. Later, the Chinese defense minister refused to take a phone call from his US counterpart, Lloyd Austinto deal with the issue of the balloon, as reported by the Pentagon.
Attached to the bottom of the balloon was a device the size of three buses and a weight of about 500 kilograms. It was flying at an altitude of 17,000 meters, and the Pentagon decided that shooting it down over populated areas would be a risk, which is why it was allowed to travel to the two Carolinas and go out to sea pushed by the air currents. An F22 then shot it down with a single missile. The Navy and Coast Guard worked to recover the wreckage.
Rejection of the Chinese version
The US has now revealed that it has images of the balloon collected by U-2 spy planes and that these confirm that the balloon was “capable of conducting the collection of intelligence signals” with multiple antennas and solar panels to power them, according to the aforementioned diplomatic sources, who sent a written memorandum to the press on condition of anonymity.
The US official said an analysis of the balloon wreckage denied China’s explanation that it was a weather balloon that veered off course. The US says it is aware that the balloon maker is a Chinese military contractor, registered on an official Chinese military procurement portal.
The Republicans, who have just retaken control of the House of Representatives, have announced that they will investigate not only the incursion of the balloon in the USA, but also the response of the Biden Administration and the delay in destroying it.