The U.S. Department of Defense said Friday night that it has detected a second Chinese spy balloon flying over Latin America.
«We are seeing reports of a balloon in transit over Latin America. We are now assessing that it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,» Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder told CNN.
So far, it has not been specified where the second balloon is located but, according to sources, this device does not seem to be heading towards U.S. territory.
The finding of this second balloon takes place a day after the U.S. Department of Defense notified that it had located an alleged Chinese spy balloon over its continental airspace.
The highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Armed Forces and President Biden’s top military advisor, Mark Milley, recommended against shooting down the balloon — which was spotted in the state of Montana — as it did not pose a military threat, stressing that the administration acted «immediately» to protect against intelligence gathering, according to CNN.
For its part, the Government of China has confirmed Friday that the first balloon located by U.S. authorities in U.S. airspace is its property, although it has clarified that «it is of a civilian nature» and is used for «scientific research».
«The balloon belongs to China and is of civilian nature, used for scientific research, such as meteorological matters,» said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who noted that «after being affected by westerly winds and the limitation of its control capacity, it deviated severely from its scheduled route».
This event has upset diplomatic relations between the two powers. Specifically, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has cancelled this Friday his visit to China which was scheduled for next week.
Blinken was to become the first member of US President Joe Biden’s Cabinet to visit the Asian giant, but now the authorities have decided to cancel the trip for the time being pending more information on the balloon in question, which was detected at a high altitude over areas of the state of Montana that host nuclear facilities.
The Biden Administration considers that going to China now could send the wrong message, so it has postponed the trip indefinitely, as Government sources have explained to ‘The Wall Street Journal’.
Later, Blinken himself has appeared before the media to confirm the cancellation of his trip to Beijing, as he considers that the latest developments are «detrimental» to the issues that officials planned to address in Chinese territory.
He also acknowledged having contacted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to reproach him for the «irresponsible act» of flying the balloon over U.S. territory, a gesture that is a «clear violation of the sovereignty» of the country, as well as of international law.
Source: (EUROPA PRESS)