Biden admin says Chinese spy balloon is expected to be over the U.S. for 'days'

 February 4, 2023

According to Fox News, the U.S. Pentagon has put out a statement indicating that it expects the Chinese spy balloon to continue floating over the U.S. for a "few days." 

The statement was made on Friday by U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.

"Right now we assess that it’ll probably be over the United States for a few days," Ryder said at the press briefing.

What's going on?

This week, it was discovered that a balloon from mainland China has entered U.S. airspace. Flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet, it has been seen over Montana, near the Malmstrom Air Force Base and the ICBM silos.

China has insisted that the balloon is merely a civilian weather balloon that has veered off course.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has put out a statement, saying:

Regarding the unintended entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace due to force majeure, the Chinese side has verified it and communicated it to the US side. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.

The U.S. Pentagon, however, disputes this narrative. Instead, the Pentagon maintains that the balloon is actually a surveillance balloon that was "intentionally" sent to the United States.

Biden's response - or lack thereof

Despite the fact that the U.S. Pentagon believes the balloon to be a Chinese surveillance device, the Biden administration, thus far, has chosen to allow the balloon to keep floating through U.S. airspace. And, the Biden administration hasn't really explained why.

On Friday, Ryder said, "We’re reviewing options. I’m not going to go into more specifics of that."

When asked about why the Biden administration hasn't simply shot the balloon down, Ryder claimed that the administration has to consider such factors as the "potential for debris" and the "impact on civilians on the ground or property damage."

On top of this, Ryder claimed that the balloon is not a threat because it is only for "surveillance."

What now?

Ryder was also asked whether the U.S. military planned to shoot the balloon down once it is over a body of water or somewhere where there would be no collateral damage.

Ryder, however, refused to give a response.

Ryder's general response to such questions was "we’ll continue to monitor, review our options, and keep you updated as we can."

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