A 2nd Chinese spy balloon flies over Latin America, announces the Pentagon

The incident does not deflate, quite the contrary. The balloon crossing the American sky at the moment is not the only one: a second is flying over Latin America, the Pentagon announced on Friday evening. “We are aware of reports of a balloon flying over Latin America. We consider it to be another Chinese spy balloon,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said in a statement, without specifying its exact location.

Friday morning, the Pengatone rejected China’s explanation, which claimed that the first aerostat was a weather probe that would have drifted “by mistake”. A diplomatic-military clash that prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his visit to China scheduled for this weekend.

Blinken called his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday. “The Secretary of State has taken note of the regrets expressed by China but indicated that it is an irresponsible act and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the United States which undermines the purpose of the trip”, according to a statement from the door- word of the State Department.

A “maneuverable” balloon

“The thing is, it’s a spy balloon. We know it’s a surveillance balloon, ”insisted Pat Ryder, refusing to give further details. He said the balloon was about 60,000 feet (18.3 km), higher than commercial air traffic, and was flying over the central United States at midday, heading east.

The balloon is, assures the spokesperson, “maneuverable” and did not simply follow the jet streams. For now, the Pentagon refuses to say whether it will attempt to shoot down or capture the balloon once it is over the Atlantic. According to NBC News, the balloon is the size of “three buses” and carries instruments powered by solar panels.

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“Down that balloon,” Trump demands

According to American media, the balloon flew over the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, then passed through Canadian airspace, before entering the United States about two days ago. He notably flew over the state of Montana (west), which is home to nuclear missile silos.

On Wednesday, F-22 Raptor fighter jets approached but it was decided not to shoot it down, due to the risks posed by possible debris to those on the ground. “Down that balloon!” “, urged former Republican President Donald Trump on Truth Social, while the Republican opposition seized on the incident to denounce the outstretched hand, according to them, by the Biden administration towards Beijing.

Antony Blinken’s visit to China would have been the first by an American secretary of state since October 2018, when the two superpowers seek to prevent the intense tensions between them from degenerating into open conflict.

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