Three mystery objects shot down have no China link: Biden administration

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The Biden administration suspects that three unidentified objects downed since last Friday served commercial purposes and weren’t used for spying, a judgement that may help ease anxiety over a Chinese balloon that traversed the US before being shot down. The intelligence community believes the objects — unlike the giant airship shot down on February 4 — “could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.

“We don’t see anything that points right now to these being part of the PRC spy balloon program or in fact, intelligence collection against the United States of any kind,” Kirby said, using the abbreviation of China’s formal name, the People’s Republic of China. That determination will ease concerns that the US has become subject to an intensive and broad-based surveillance program orchestrated by the Chinese military. Those fears were stoked by the series of shootdowns over Alaska, Canada and Michigan starting Friday and raised pressure on the Biden administration to explain the nature of the high-altitude craft, their origins and whether they posed national-security threats.

China says US balloons flew over Xinjiang, Tibet

China said on Wednesday that US high altitude balloons flew over its Xinjiang and Tibet regions, and that it will take measures against US entities that undermine Chinese sovereignty as a diplomatic dispute festered. Washington and Beijing are locked in a tussle over flying objects after the U.S. military this month shot down what it called a Chinese spy balloon over the coast of South Carolina.

Japan suspects China sent spy balloons into its airspace

Japan’s Defense Ministry said three objects spotted in its airspace between 2019 and 2021 were probably Chinese surveillance balloons, giving its most definitive assessment for the previously unidentified items.

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