Pentagon confirmed, on Saturday, that a Chinese “spy balloon” has been tracked over Latin America, one day after a similar aircraft was seen in US skies.
At the time, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said the Chinese research balloon that accidentally breached US airspace on Thursday poses no threat to people on the ground.
A senior defense official told reporters that at US President Joe Biden’s request, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and top military officials considered shooting the balloon down but decided that doing so would endanger too many people on the ground.
“Clearly, the intent of this balloon is for surveillance,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, considered.
The Pentagon added that the first balloon was now heading eastward over the central United States.
Later Friday, Ryder said, “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America.”
“We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he stressed, without specifying its exact location.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, via a spokesperson, that China regretted the unintended breach of US airspace in reference to the accidental entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace on Friday.
“The airship is from China,” the statement read. “It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes.”
Source: The Independent