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New Satellite Photos Show Chinese Spy Balloons Over Asia

This satellite photo shows what looks like a huge balloon over Japan.

By Editor-June 26th, 2023.

New evidence of China’s spy balloon programme – including flights over Japan and Taiwan – has been uncovered by the BBC TYV documentary program Panorama.

Japan has confirmed balloons have flown over its territory and said it’s prepared to shoot them down in future.

China has not directly addressed the evidence presented by the BBC.

US-China relations were thrown into turmoil earlier this year, when an alleged Chinese spy balloon was shot down off the US coast. US Navy personnel recovered parts of the vehicle and later claimed that it definitely was no stray weather balloon.

US personnel shot down a balloon over the coast of the US, and then recovered debris from the Atlantic Ocean.

China claimed the balloon seen over north-western US in late January was a civilian airship, used for scientific research such as meteorology – and that it was an unintended and isolated event.

“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” U.S. Northern Command said.

U.S. intelligence and military officials say the balloon is a surveillance tool, deployed by China to collect signals intelligence and other information about U.S. military operations and capabilities.

John Culver – a former East Asia analyst for the CIA – told Panorama that this “had been not just a one-off, but a continuing effort dating back at least five years.” He said the Chinese balloons were “specially designed for these long-range missions” and some had “apparently circumnavigated the globe”.

Working with Synthetaic, an artificial intelligence company which sifted through huge amounts of data captured by satellites, the BBC has found multiple images of balloons crossing East Asia.

The company’s founder, Corey Jaskolski, found evidence of one balloon crossing northern Japan in early September 2021. These images have not been published before.

Mr Jaskolski also believes the evidence points to this balloon having been launched from deep inside China, south of Mongolia. The BBC has been unable to confirm this.

Japan is a close ally of the US and more American forces are stationed there than in any other foreign country.

Sources: BBC News. US Navy.