U.S. may target Chinese entities linked to spy balloon

US Materials 10 February 2023 01:59 (UTC +04:00)

The United States will explore taking action against entities connected to the Chinese military that supported the flight of a Chinese spy balloon into U.S. airspace last week, a senior State Department official said on Thursday, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Washington is confident that the manufacturer of the Chinese balloon, shot down by the U.S. military last weekend off the U.S. East Coast, has a "direct relationship" with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the department official said in a statement.

The FBI, which is leading efforts to analyze recovered remains of the balloon, told reporters in a briefing that it had obtained only limited physical evidence and did not yet have enough information to assess its capabilities.

"It's very early for us in this process, and the evidence that has been recovered and brought to the FBI is extremely limited," a bureau official said.

FBI officials said they still did not have access to the majority of the balloon's "payload" where most of the onboard electronics were likely carried, and that much of it remains underwater.

Separately on Thursday, speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman highlighted the flight of the Chinese balloon as another sign of Beijing's efforts to reshape the international order.

"This irresponsible act put on full display what we've long recognized: that the PRC (People's Republic of China) has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad," Sherman told the hearing.

Sherman said Washington would continue to block China from using U.S. technology to advance its military modernization.

"The PRC is the only competitor with the intent and means to reshape the international order," Sherman said, adding that the balloon's violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law was the "latest example of that reality."