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US Officials Allege Chinese High-Altitude Balloon Invaded Sensitive Military Areas, Prompts Concerns Over National Security

In February, when China's high-altitude reconnaissance balloon invaded U.S. airspace, it was reported that information was collected from sensitive U.S. military bases, and real-time transmission to China was also possible.


Citing a former and current U.S. high-ranking official, NBC reported on the 3rd that balloons remotely controlled by the Chinese side repeatedly flew over the military base in an eight-character shape.


Most of the information stolen by the balloon was found to be electronic signals sent from weapons systems or exchanged by unit workers rather than visual images such as photos.


These sources explained that the Joe Biden administration was able to prevent further information collection by moving the location of potential reconnaissance targets in U.S. troops or interfering with the detection of electronic signals from balloons.


The balloon was also equipped with a remotely operated suicide bomber, but it was confirmed that it did not work in the process from discovery to shooting down. However, it is not known whether the Chinese side did not decide to explode or whether it was a simple malfunction, the source said.


The Chinese reconnaissance balloon was seen by civilians over Montana on February 1 and its existence was revealed. 


Montana has one of the three U.S. nuclear and missile hangars, the Malmstrom Air Force Base, raising the possibility that the reconnaissance balloon flew for intelligence purposes.


The balloon first broke into U.S. airspace when it entered the skies over Alaska on January 28 this year, and U.S. authorities have been shooting down balloons and collecting and analyzing debris over the eastern coast on February 4.


Chinese authorities strongly criticized the U.S. for shooting down the balloon, calling it a civilian airship for weather observation. 


However, the U.S. authorities have concluded that it is a reconnaissance balloon for information collection based on the detection of antennas that appear to be for information reconnaissance and large solar panels that generate the power needed to operate multiple active information collection sensors.


Asked what information the balloon had accessed, White House National Security Council Strategic Communication Coordinator John Kirby said, "After confirming its entry into U.S. airspace, we took steps to limit the balloon's ability to gather information."


Asked if there was any real-time transmission of information by reconnaissance balloons to China, Sabrina Singh, a deputy spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said in a briefing, "We cannot confirm whether there was a real-time transmission of information from the balloons to China."


Deputy spokesman Singh added, "We are currently analyzing the information, but there is nothing to add at this time."


Edited by Palak Chauhan[email protected]/

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