The US Department of Defense, the Pentagon, has said that it has tracked a Chinese spy balloon hovering over the northwestern state of Montana in the country’s airspace.
According to the New York Times, on Thursday, the Pentagon recommended to President Joe Biden not to target the spy balloon for now.
According to a senior defense official who was not officially authorized to speak to the media, Pentagon officials made the suggestion because the balloon’s debris was at risk of falling to the ground.
The news of China’s spy balloon over US airspace comes as US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken is scheduled to visit Beijing next week.
News about the spy balloon was released ahead of US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken’s visit to let China know.
This will be the first visit by a US Secretary of State in the last six years. He is also expected to meet with President Xi Jinping.
According to a senior defense official, this is not the first time that China has sent a spy balloon to the US, but it is the first time that the spy balloon has stayed in the air for a long time.
A senior administration official said the spy balloon poses no threat but can gather limited intelligence.
Pentagon officials said the spy balloon arrived in Montana after a several-day trip from China to the Alusion Islands of Alaska and then into northwestern Canada, where it hovered on Wednesday.
It’s unclear what China was looking for in Montana, but the state has a missile wing at the Malmstorm Air Force Base. It is one of three US Air Force bases that operate intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin convened a meeting of military and defense officials on Wednesday to discuss how to deal with the situation.
Officials from President Joe Biden’s administration have contacted Chinese officials about the matter and informed them of the seriousness of the matter.