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US House speaker accuses China of disregard for US sovereignty over spy balloon

Kevin McCarthy requested a Gang of Eight briefing
US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Kevin McCarthy accused China of showing disregard to the US sovereignty by sending a ‘spy balloon’ to its territory.

"China’s brazen disregard for US sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent," McCarthy wrote on Twitter. "I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefing."

The Gang of Eight comprises eight Congressional leaders from both parties and both chambers of the US parliament. The government provides them with classified intelligence information.

Earlier, US media quoted Department of Defense Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder as saying that an aerial object, presumed to be a Chinese spy balloon, had been spotted moving in the north of the country. In his words, the balloon "is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground." The spokesman also said that after the balloon was detected, the US government "acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information." Moreover, he said, "instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years.".