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Hot Air Still Expanding In Balloon Row Between China and US.

US media reported that the balloon collected intelligence from several military sites. For example, on April 3rd NBC News headlined: “Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive U.S. military sites, despite U.S. efforts to block it.”

China, in turn, has repeatedly rejected the allegations saying its balloon was a civilian airship only engaged in scientific weather research that veered off course due to bad weather and factors beyond the control of the Chinese.

By Editor-June 30th, 2023.

The Chinese balloon shot down by a US fighter jet after suspected to be a spy aircraft did not collect intelligence data in February as previously reported by US media, the Pentagon announced today.

The Pentagon said the US military “took steps to mitigate” the collection of intelligence by the balloon.

“It’s been our assessment now that it did not collect intelligence while it was transiting the United States or overflying the United States,” said Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder.

He said that the balloon did have “intelligence collection capabilities”.

“Certainly the efforts we made contributed” to mitigating collection of intelligence, Mr Ryder said, without further explanation at the briefing.

The debris of the suspected spy balloon was salvaged from the sea after it was shot down on 4 February. The balloon spent a week flying over the US air space and Canada before it was drowned off the coast of South Carolina.

It had more specialised Chinese sensors and other equipment to collect photographs, video and other information to transmit data to China, the report said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning responded furiously today.

“To call it a ‘spy balloon’ that collected intelligence is nothing but a false accusation,” Mao told a briefing.

The entrance of the balloon in the US airspace was an accident caused by force majeure, the diplomat added.

In February, the United States shot down the Chinese balloon over the Atlantic Ocean after it crossed the mainland.