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Pentagon says Chinese balloon violates international law, poses no risk for people

Pentagon Press Secretary Patrick Ryder insisted "it’s a surveillance balloon"

WASHINGTON, February 3. /TASS/. The Chinese balloon over the US violates international law but doesn’t pose any risk to people on the ground, Pentagon Press Secretary Patrick Ryder said at a news conference on Friday.

"We do know that the balloon has violated US airspace and international law, which is unacceptable," he said.

He insisted "it’s a surveillance balloon" and said it "does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground."

Ryder also said the Chinese balloon continued to move eastward and was positioned over the center of the continental United States. He declined to say exactly where the balloon, said it was able to maneuver and floated at the altitude of 60,000 feet, which is above the flight paths of commercial airlines. Ryder declined to provide more details, saying the data were classified.

The Pentagon is closely tracking the Chinese balloon, which will probably float over the US for a few more days, he said.

He said the US "continues to monitor it closely," adding the balloon will likely remain over the US for a few more days. Ryder said the Pentagon was reviewing options with regards to the balloon and could provide more information to news media at a later time.

He said the balloon doesn’t have any radioactive substances onboard. The US earlier observed similar balloon activity, the spokesman said. What sets apart the current balloon from earlier balloons is the duration of its floating over the US.

The Pentagon earlier said it believed it’s dangerous to shoot down the balloon due to its large size. The US took measures to prevent the balloon from gathering sensitive data as soon as it was detected, according to the Pentagon.