U.S. sites of interest visited by past Chinese balloons, Pentagon says
Adds details from Ryder, bylines
By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) -Four previous Chinese spy balloon flights over the United States passed over sites that would be of interest to Beijing, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, without elaborating on the paths the balloons took or whether the U.S. sites were military ones.
Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the United States was aware of the four past flights before it detected the latest Chinese balloon.
A U.S. military fighter jet shot down that balloon on Saturday off the South Carolina coast, triggering condemnation from China, which said it was a civilian air vessel.
"They were over sites that would be of interest to the Chinese," Ryder told reporters.
Ryder said that U.S. Navy ships were still recovering the debris and on Tuesday divers and explosive technicians carried out underwater collection and survey activities.
He added that USS Carter Hall was leading the recovery efforts, which include using unmanned underwater vehicles.
Ryder said the balloon was part of a larger Chinese surveillance balloon program.
A senior U.S. general said on Monday that the military had been unable to detect previous spy balloons in real time before the one that appeared on Jan. 28 and called it an "awareness gap."
The Pentagon said over the weekend that Chinese spy balloons had briefly flown over the United States at least three times during President Donald Trump's administration and one previously under President Joe Biden.
The United States held briefings in Washington and Beijing with foreign diplomats from 40 nations about the Chinese balloon that Washington shot down on Saturday for spying over U.S. territory, a senior administration official and diplomats said on Tuesday.
The balloon caused a political uproar in Washington and prompted the top U.S. diplomat, Antony Blinken, to cancel a trip to Beijing that both countries had hoped would steady their rocky relations.
China has said it was a weather balloon that had blown off course into U.S. airspace and accused the United States of overreacting.
The White House has downplayed any drastic effect the incident would have on U.S.-China relations. Biden himself said on Monday that the issue had not weakened relations.
EXPLAINER -What we know and don't know about the Chinese balloon nL4N34O1Q1
U.S. failed to detect past Chinese spy balloons over United States -U.S. generalnL1N34M1QO
Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.