The Chinese Spy Balloon Mystery
What We Know So Far
An alleged spy balloon sighted over the United States has sparked concerns over China's military capabilities and intentions.
The US defense officials claim it to be a high-altitude surveillance device, while China asserts that it is a "civilian airship" used for meteorological purposes.
An alleged spy balloon spotted over the US is believed by US defense officials to be a high-altitude surveillance device.
China claims the balloon to be a "civilian airship" used for meteorological purposes.
The balloon flew over Alaska's Aleutian Islands and appeared over the city of Billings in Montana, home to some of the US's nuclear missile silos.
US authorities decided not to shoot down the balloon due to the danger posed by falling debris and limited use of any intelligence it could gather.
Fighter jets were prepared in case the object had to be shot down.
The Chinese statement says the balloon was blown off-course by unexpected winds.
Canada has summoned China's ambassador over the incident.
The incident is likely to increase tensions ahead of the US Secretary of State's visit to China next week.
The top US diplomat will be in Beijing to hold talks on security, Taiwan, and COVID-19.
The unfamiliar sight of the balloon caused confusion and speculation, with some calling it a UFO.