A Chinese balloon, as big as 3 buses, is likely to fly over the US for a few days
WASHINGTON: A Chinese balloon the size of three buses will remain in the US for a few days with a significant number of payloads, the Pentagon said on Friday, with surveillance capabilities.
The development has angered the US, which in protest canceled a trip to Beijing by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was due to visit China on Friday night. It was the first visit to China by a top US diplomat in years.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on China’s violations of US airspace, and the White House says he is closely monitoring the developing situation and has decided not to clear it out of concern for public safety. on the table.
“We will continue to monitor it. Right now, we estimate it will be in the United States for a few days, but we will continue to review our options and update you as soon as we can,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters at the Defense Department.
“It’s got a large payload underneath the observation component, underneath the actual balloon piece,” Ryder said, adding that the observation balloon has maneuvering capabilities. “Now at this point, it’s moving eastward across the United States, right now into Central America,” he said.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States had noted China’s statement of regret. “But the presence of this balloon in our airspace is a violation of our sovereignty and international law, and it is unacceptable that this happened,” he said.
Both the White House and the Pentagon have said they do not pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground. “President Biden was briefed. He asked the military to present options. It was a strong recommendation from Northern Command (Defense) Secretary (Lloyd) Austin, Chief Millie, not to take kinetic action because of safety and risk. The safety of the people on the ground,” Jean-Pierre said.
“We know it’s a surveillance balloon. In terms of size, I can’t get any specifics other than to say it’s big enough, and again, by reviewing our approach, we recognize that there’s a potential. The debris field is going to be significant and there’s going to be civilian injuries or deaths or causing significant property damage,” Ryder said.
“It’s part of the calculus in terms of our overall assessment, but again, we’ll continue to monitor it. We’ll continue to review our options and update you as much as possible,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, in a phone call with the Chinese counterpart, Blinken told Wang Yi, director of the CCP Central Foreign Office, that large numbers of Chinese people would not be traveling to the Republic of China at the moment. -Highest PRC observation balloon in US airspace.
Blinken said he plans to travel to Beijing to pursue the agenda President Biden and President Xi agreed to in Bali in November. He noted the PRC’s statement of regret, but said it was “reckless and a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law that undermines the purpose of the trip,” a State Department spokesman read in the call.
“In light of the current issue, the secretary explained that it would not be appropriate to visit Beijing at this time. The United States is committed to maintaining diplomatic engagement and open communication, and he reiterated his willingness to visit Beijing as conditions permit,” Price said.