Pentagon claims second Chinese surveillance balloon detected over Latin America

Pentagon claims second Chinese surveillance balloon detected over Latin America
# 04 February 2023 06:22 (UTC +04:00)

The US Department of Defense revealed late Friday that a second surveillance balloon reportedly belonging to China was detected "transiting" over Latin America, APA reports citing Sputnik.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder made the revelation exclusively to CNN. "We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon," a statement read.

The exact coordinates of where the alleged balloon was transiting were not immediately provided by the Pentagon official; however, a US official informed the outlet that it did not appear to be making its way to the US.

China has not yet commented on the detection of a second balloon.

Earlier Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that the first balloon documented over northern US was indeed Chinese but explained that it was a civilian device used for research purposes, more specifically for meteorological matters.

"Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course," a statement read. "The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure."

"The Chinese side will continue communicating with the US side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure," the ministry added at the time.

Reports of the balloon flying over the US surfaced on Thursday, when Pentagon officials detailed that a device had been detected over the US state of Montana as early as Wednesday. At the time it was also noted that defense officials had ultimately decided against shooting the device down out of concern of falling debris injuring civilians on the ground.