Canada working with US after surveillance balloon spotted over airspace, China responds
After the US stated that it is tracking a surveillance balloon, suspected to be Chinese, spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple of days, The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces issued a joint statement stating that the North American countries are working together to protect sensitive information from foreign intelligence threats.
The Department of Defence stated Thursday that the organization decided not to shoot down the balloon due to the risk of hurting people on the ground. The joint statement does not state if the balloon was spotted flying over Canadian airspace as well. North American Aerospace Defence Command is actively monitoring the movements of the balloon, according to the joint statement.
“NORAD, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence, and other partners have been assessing the situation and working in close co-ordination..Canada’s intelligence agencies are working with American partners and continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard Canada’s sensitive information from foreign intelligence threats,” the statement read.
The statement states that the forces are working to ensure that the Canadian airspace is safe and monitoring a potential second incident.
One of the places where the surveillance balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base. US officials suspect that the surveillance balloon is a Chinese high-altitude balloon, according to media reports.
The balloon is “currently travelling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground”, stated Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning, at a daily briefing on Friday, stated, “China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention to violate the territory and airspace of any sovereign countries…As for the balloon, as I’ve mentioned just now, we are looking into and verifying the situation and hope that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully.”