In a world of ever-increasing technological advancement, it appears that Chinese surveillance has taken to the skies. Late Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that they have identified a second Chinese spy balloon that is currently operating over the Americas. This balloon has the capability to maneuver and has changed direction at 60,000 feet, which has sparked concern from the Biden administration.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has claimed that the balloon is a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes” and that it “deviated far from its planned course”. However, a U.S. official has stated that the balloon has flown over “a number of sensitive sites” in the U.S. and that China is likely using it for surveillance purposes.
The Biden administration has looked into whether they have the option to shoot down the balloon but have not felt comfortable doing so due to the potential damage it could cause to civilians when it hits the ground. Professor Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at the SOAS University of London, has suggested that China’s motive in sending the balloon to the U.S. is to show that they are able to survey U.S. military installations.
This news has been met with concern from the U.S. government and has sparked a conversation about the implications of Chinese surveillance. It is yet to be seen what will happen with the balloon, but it is clear that the U.S. is taking this issue seriously.