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US: China’s balloon not gathering intelligence

US: China’s balloon not gathering intelligence

A Chinese balloon shot down by a US warplane over the Atlantic in February did not gather any intelligence, the US Department of Defense said. “In our assessment, the balloon did not collect any information while flying over the United States,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said yesterday.

Accordingly, the United States “took steps to limit the collection of information by balloon”. Those efforts “definitely helped,” Ryder said, but did not elaborate.

Diplomatic corruption

Earlier this year, a Chinese balloon flew over the United States for an entire day, leading to a scandal between Washington and Beijing. An American warplane finally shot down the balloon on the east coast of the United States. According to US reports, it is a Chinese spy balloon. Beijing denies this and talks of a civilian balloon for meteorological purposes.

At the time, a US official said the balloon had several antennas. According to him, it was “equipped with solar cells large enough to generate enough energy to power several active surveillance sensors.”

Just before US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s trip to China last week, President Joe Biden downplayed the balloon incident: “I don’t think the (Chinese) leadership knows where the balloon is, what was in it, what’s on it. They’re gone”.

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