As tensions between the United States and China continue to escalate, a startling discovery has recently been revealed. According to a senior U.S. defense official, Chinese surveillance balloons similar to the one that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina this weekend have flown over the U.S. at least three times during the Trump administration.
The balloon that was shot down Saturday was authorized by President Biden and has caused Republican lawmakers to criticize the Biden administration for its response. However, the senior defense official revealed that the U.S. was aware of three other instances during the prior administration and one instance earlier in the Biden administration that such an apparatus “transited” the country.
The Chinese have put out an explanation that the balloon was blown off course and was simply a weather balloon. However, the defense official stated that the route of the balloon “contradicts the PRC government’s explanation” and that the balloon was “purposefully traversing the United States and Canada” in order to monitor sensitive military sites.
Former President Trump has denied the revelation by Defense officials that Chinese balloons flew over the U.S. during his administration, calling it “disinformation.” He also claimed that China had “too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for this to have happened.”
The incident has caused Taiwan to demand that the international community not “tolerate” such actions and that pressure to combat Chinese surveillance balloons is bipartisan and mounting in Congress. It remains to be seen what action the Biden administration will take in response to this discovery.