By: C. Oliveira
China has allegedly been flying surveillance balloons over the U.S. There had been a massive surveillance balloon flying over the United States before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina by an F-22 on February 4th, which was said to be flying about 18km high. The balloon took off from China’s Hainan Island before travelling on a path which appeared to go over Guam.
China has maintained that the balloon was simply a civilian airship that drifted astray by accident, however the balloon had collection pod equipment, including high-tech equipment that could collect communications signals and other sensitive information, and solar panels located on the metal truss suspended below the balloon, according to government officials. A statement by a senior State Department officials says the equipment was clearly for surveillance” since it included “multiple antennas” that were “likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications”
After being shot down from 60,000 feet high, the balloon was recovered, and the wreckage was rinsed clean of salt water before having the FBI forensically examine it. According to senior FBI officials, the FBI has the balloon canopy, wires and other electronic components collected from the water surface and have not detected explosive materials on the evidence that has already been examined.
In response, China is now making accusations of its own. On Monday, at a press briefing in Beijing, Wang Wenbin, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson accused USA of commonly having balloons “enter other countries' airspace." He continued to claim the U.S. was using warships and planes to gather intelligence on China 657 times since the start of last year. John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S National security council said in a MSNBC interview on Monday that this claim was not true.
After the incident, the US military adjusted radar settings to detect smaller objects and
discovered three more unidentified craft that President Joe Biden ordered shot down – one over Alaska, another over Canada and the third over Lake Huron off Michigan.