NEW YORK, February 4. /TASS/. Another Chinese spy balloon is currently flying over Latin America, CNN reported on Friday, citing the Pentagon press secretary.
"We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon," Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said in a statement to CNN. According to the TV channel, it is unclear exactly where the balloon is over Latin America, however a US official said that it did not appear to be currently heading to the United States.
On Thursday, Ryder said 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 US Department of Defense also pointed out that it was dangerous to shoot the balloon down due to its large size.
The spokesman added that after the balloon had been detected, the US government "acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information."
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson clarified that "the airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes." The spokesperson added, "Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course." The spokesperson also expressed regret that "force majeure" had led to the meteorological balloon getting into US airspace and said China was ready stay in touch with the American authorities to resolve the situation.