Suspected Chinese spy balloon found over US

February 04, 2023

The U.S. military has been monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been hovering over the northern U.S. for the past few days, and military and defense leaders have discussed shooting it out of the sky, according to two U.S. officials and a senior defense official.

“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told NBC News. “We continue to track and monitor it closely.”

“Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.

The high-altitude balloon was spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday. It flew over Alaska's Aleutian Islands, through Canada, and into Montana. A senior defense official said the balloon is still over the U.S. but declined to say where it is now.

On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing was assessing the situation and that speculation and hype were unhelpful while facts were still being clarified.

“China is a responsible country that always abides by international law and has no intention of infringing on any country’s territory and airspace,” said a spokesperson at a daily briefing. “We hope that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully."

Later Friday, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that the the balloon was Chinese but said it was a weather balloon that had “deviated far from its planned course.”