The Pentagon is monitoring a suspected Chinese language high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, a senior protection official stated on Thursday.

The Pentagon has been monitoring the balloon for a number of days because it made its approach over the northern United States, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated. He added that the US army determined in opposition to taking pictures the balloon down.

“The balloon is at present touring at an altitude effectively above industrial air visitors and doesn’t current a army or bodily menace to folks on the bottom,” Ryder stated.

“We’re assured that this high-altitude surveillance balloon belongs to the [People’s Republic of China],” the senior protection official stated. “Situations of this exercise have been noticed over the previous a number of years, together with previous to this administration.”

The official stated the US authorities has engaged with the Chinese language authorities each by means of the Chinese language embassy in Washington and the US diplomatic mission in China.

The balloon “doesn’t current a army or bodily menace to folks on the bottom,” Ryder stated.

The senior protection official added that it was the “sturdy advice” of senior army leaders, together with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers Gen. Mark Milley, “to not take kinetic motion as a result of threat to security and safety of individuals on the bottom from the doable particles subject.”

Officers assessed that the balloon has “restricted additive worth” from an intelligence assortment perspective, the official stated.

The information comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is predicted to journey to Beijing within the coming days, a major journey meant to observe up on President Joe Biden’s assembly with Chinese language President Xi Jinping final 12 months. The dialog between the 2 leaders was “open and candid,” Biden stated on the time, including that whereas he was not “suggesting that is kumbaya,” he didn’t consider there’s want for concern of “a brand new Chilly Battle.”

Tensions between the US and China escalated in August final 12 months with the go to of then-Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi’s go to to Taiwan, which resulted in China’s announcement of army workout routines on the identical time.

This story is breaking and will probably be up to date.

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