China’s Spy Balloon Factory: The Communists Have Been Bombing Surveillance Aircraft For YEARS
The Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by a US fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday was the product of a factory based at a naval base on a remote island in the communist nation, it has been revealed.
A new report from the washington post It details that the aircraft, which sparked a dramatic and public spy saga that worsened Sino-US relations, has been a key part of Beijing’s intelligence operations for years.
The report says that the Chinese military has previously sent balloons into the airspace of geopolitical rivals such as Japan, India and the Philippines.
The Pentagon previously said that at least four other balloons were previously detected over US airspace, in Hawaii, Florida, Texas and Guam, three of them during President Donald Trump’s presidency.
Last Friday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed his trip to China hours before his departure because of the balloon. While on Tuesday, China’s defense minister rejected a proposal by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to discuss the events of the past week.
Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island, where the country’s hot air balloon program is based.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pictured with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in November 2022. On Tuesday, Fenghe rejected a call from Austin about the balloon.
The Pentagon said in a statement: “The lines between our militaries are particularly important at times like this. Unfortunately, the People’s Republic of China has rejected our request. Our commitment to open lines of communication will continue,” reports Political.
A senior official told the Post that China’s aircraft program represents a “massive effort” within the country’s spy programs. The program is based at the Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island off China’s south coast.
While a Japanese official told the newspaper that an orb was seen over the country in 2020, which many believed to be a UFO. That official said: ‘In retrospect, people are realizing that it was a Chinese spy tool. But at that time it was purely novel, no one had seen this.
Intelligence officials do not have an estimate of how many spy balloons the Chinese military possesses. One official used the word “dozens” when asked how many sightings there have been in recent years, according to the Post.
The newspaper went on to report that in June 2022, a spy balloon crashed in Hawaii. As a result, the US military was able to obtain valuable information on Chinese military technology.
Speaking about the advantages of using a balloon for espionage purposes rather than more sophisticated technology, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charlie ‘Tuna’ Moore said: ‘If you have a balloon that is moving extremely slowly, you have a persistence you can’t get. from a satellite.
Moore added that satellites typically only have seconds to take pictures of their targets.
One of China’s nuclear submarines at the Yulin naval base on the island of Hainan.
Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong at Yulin Naval Base
This week, Biden officials held briefings in Washington and Beijing with foreign diplomats from 40 countries on the globe.
Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman briefed nearly 150 foreign diplomats at 40 embassies on Monday, an official said, while in Beijing the US embassy gathered foreign diplomats Monday and Tuesday to present the US findings. USA over the globe.
“We want to make sure we share as much as we can with countries around the world that may also be susceptible to these types of operations,” the senior administration official said.
China has said it was a weather balloon straying off course into US airspace and that it was an “unexpected and isolated incident.” He condemned the shootdown and accused the United States of overreacting.
Authorities said the first spy balloon to travel across the US went down six miles off the coast of South Carolina in water about 47 feet deep. They noted that a suitable salvage vessel will not be on the scene for days as the race is on to secure the wreckage.
At the briefings in Beijing, the United States presented information to show that the balloon, which entered US airspace in late January and flew over US military sites, was not a weather research balloon as Beijing claimed, but an aircraft that it was used for espionage, said diplomats in Beijing who attended the discussions.
Diplomats at the Beijing briefing said they were told the solar panels on the balloon meant it needed more power than a weather balloon and that its flight path did not conform to natural wind patterns.
US officials have said the balloon was equipped with rudders and propellers.
“Based on the US report, our own understanding of such balloons, and the fact that China has so far refused to name the company or entity that owns this balloon, we find it hard to believe that it is a civilian weather balloon.” said a Beijing. Asian based defense diplomat.
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet fired a single AIM-9X missile to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon and its payload, which was equipped with cameras, sensors and radar.
The spy balloon is shown being shot from the sky on Saturday over South Carolina.
The information was similar to what the Pentagon has shared with reporters since the weekend, saying the balloons were part of a Chinese air fleet that has also violated the sovereignty of other countries.
On Tuesday, Navy divers began extracting pieces of the balloon from the depths of the ocean floor, using sophisticated reconnaissance drones called Kingfish and Swordfish to locate the debris.
After collecting all of the white fabric and the balloon’s shroud structure found floating on the surface, the Navy has now switched to an underwater search for the huge balloon’s wreckage.
Navy and Coast Guard personnel were using underwater drones to locate and map the debris field, and divers were in the water scooping up what they could, authorities said.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPY BALLOON OBSERVATIONS
under donald trump
Under Joe Biden
Early 2021 – Over Continental US
October 2022: Balloon crashes in Hawaii
January-February 2023: Balloon flies over the US, from Alaska to South Carolina, and is shot down on February 4
February 2023: Balloon flying over South America, seen over northern Colombia
Debris already collected was being transported by small boats to a few locations in the area, including a Coast Guard station south of Myrtle Beach and, depending on the size, will eventually go to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, or other sites where the debris was collected. Experts can analyze it, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of an ongoing military operation.
The head of the US Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck, who is in charge of the recovery effort, and several Biden administration officials will brief members of Congress on the balloon on Wednesday and Thursday.
Lawmakers have raised a number of questions about whether the balloon was able to collect intelligence and transmit it to China during the time it traveled east through the United States, after crossing the border from Canada into Idaho.
White House and Pentagon officials have largely avoided providing details about the balloon’s capabilities.
In December, a Chinese fighter jet came within 20 feet of a US air force plane in the disputed South China Sea last week and forced it into evasive maneuvers to avoid a fatal collision in international airspace, it said. the US Army at the time.
The close encounter followed what the United States has called a recent trend of increasingly dangerous behavior by Chinese military aircraft.
The incident, which involved a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet and a US Air Force RC-135 jet, took place on December 21, the US military said in a statement.
The video shows the J-11 flying close, almost alongside the RC-135, as the Chinese plane approaches, the American pilot is forced to rapidly descend away from the other plane.