Washington: Days after the US shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon floating over sensitive installations in the country, a media report said China operated a fleet of spy balloons targeting several countries, including India and Japan. Is. The Washington Post published a report on Tuesday based on interviews with several anonymous defense and intelligence officials. “The surveillance balloon effort, which has operated for several years off China’s south coast partly out of Hainan province, has collected information on military assets in countries and regions of emerging strategic interest to China, including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. The report said.
US officials on Saturday informed their friends and allies, including India, about the discovery of a Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by a fighter jet in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman briefed officials of about 40 embassies here on Monday.
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Officials have said these surveillance airships, operated by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) air force, have been spotted across five continents, the daily reported.
A senior defense official was quoted as saying, “These balloons are part of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) fleet of balloons, which have been developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries.” ”
According to the daily, in recent years, there have been at least four balloon sightings in Hawaii, Florida, Texas and Guam, in addition to one that was tracked last week. Three of the four incidents occurred during the Trump administration, but were most recently identified as Chinese surveillance airships.
The Pentagon on Tuesday released a series of photos showing the high-altitude surveillance balloon being recovered.
(With PTI inputs)