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How many Chinese spy balloons are there ? Pentagon tracking movement over Latin America 

(image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr)
American officials said that they may shoot down one the balloons when it is over the Atlantic Ocean(image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr)

On Wednesday, February 1, Canadian and American officials reported that a suspected Chinese spy balloon had been detected over Montana, USA. On Friday, February 3, the United States Department of Defense reported that a second spy balloon had reportedly been seen over Latin America, near Colombia. A total of two balloons have been detected.

According to the Independent, American officials have announced their efforts to track the two alleged Chinese spy balloons. The Pentagon reported that they are not considered an active threat, and thus there will be no attempt to shoot them down. As per the Guardian, US Defense officials fear that if their balloons were shot down, the debris could injure civilians.

🚨BREAKING: I’m calling for an investigation and demanding answers from the Biden Admin. on why a Chinese spy balloon was allowed to hover over critical military infrastructure in Missouri and across the interior of the U.S. without any intervention. https://t.co/c25ZEGKpWC

Mao Ning, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry, said that the balloon is a civilian airship used for research. American officials have denied her claims.


Officials clash over the alleged Chinese spy balloons

In an official statement to the Independent, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder confirmed the presence of the two Chinese spy balloons.

The United States spends roughly $800 Billion on national defense each year.Someone please explain how a “Chinese Spy Balloon” was able to float into our airspace without early detection or interception by any branch of our military..And why hasn’t it been shot down yet?.. https://t.co/ahg3lrpG0w

Ryder said:

“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon."

Ryder added that the first spy balloon, which was initially detected over Montana, is still in American airspace.

He continued:

“While we won’t get into specifics in regards to the exact location, I can tell you that the balloon continues to move eastward and is currently over the centre of the continental United States."

The Federal Aviation Administration said that while the Chinese spy balloons are not currently considered an immediate threat to the American public, they are prepared to attack it if necessary.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said:

"The balloon does not currently pose a hazard to civil aviation. If that changes, the FAA is prepared to take action."

They continued:

“We currently assess that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground at this time, and will continue to monitor and review options.”
Clearest image of the Chinese spy balloon taken over Missouri by TSchlitt-Photography https://t.co/g2YPmUVYig

In an official statement, Mao Ning of the Chinese foreign ministry claimed that the supposed spy balloons were civilian airships pushed into American airspace by Westerly winds.

Mao Ning said:

"(The balloon is a) civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course."

She added:

“The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure."

In an interview with the Guardian, John Blaxland, professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University, said that the presence of the balloons in American airspace is grounds for a violent reaction by the US government.

Blaxland said:

“Over somebody else’s atmosphere, you are required to seek permission. Or if you’re going to do it (without permission) then expect that it won’t be well received.”
Dereliction of duty by the Commander in Chief: allowing a Chinese spy balloon deep into our heartland and hover over nuclear sites. https://t.co/H1HerPjp54

According to ABC, the American government may shoot down one of the supposed Chinese spy balloons when it is over the Atlantic ocean.

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Edited by Sayati Das
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