Downed Chinese spy flight linked to global surveillance program

Senior U.S. army and nationwide safety officers confirmed Wednesday that the Chinese language spy balloon shot down off South Carolina’s shoreline over the weekend was tied to a significant surveillance program run by China’s army.  This system has been largely run out of China’s Hainan Island province off its southeast shoreline within the South China Sea by the Folks’s Liberation Military (PLA). It has been identified to function over regional neighbors like Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and India, The Washington Submit first reported.However these surveillance balloons, used to gather army intelligence from nations which can be of strategic curiosity to Beijing, have additionally emerged over the U.S. earlier than.   A big balloon drifts above the Atlantic Ocean, simply off the coast of South Carolina, with a fighter jet and its contrail seen beneath it Saturday. (Chad Fish through AP)CHINA LODGES ‘STERN PROTEST’ OVER SPY AIRCRAFT SHOOT-DOWN, CALLS US ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’One other Chinese language spy balloon was found 4 months in the past after it crashed into the Pacific Ocean close to Hawaii, Fox Information confirmed earlier this week. One other three Chinese language surveillance balloons have been discovered to have flown over Texas, Florida and Guam in the course of the Trump administration. Division of Protection press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder advised reporters Wednesday the U.S. had been monitoring China’s surveillance practices earlier than the most recent balloon arrived stateside final week. “We are actually studying extra concerning the scale of this Chinese language balloon surveillance program, which U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon have been observing for a number of years,” he mentioned. “Our consciousness and understanding of this functionality has elevated.”It’s unclear how lengthy Beijing has been working the espionage program that depends on dated balloon know-how together with trendy surveillance methods. Spy balloons have been noticed over 5 continents since 2018. “If you have a look at the scope of this program — working over no less than 5 continents in areas like Latin America, South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Europe — once more, it demonstrates why, for the Division of Protection, that China stays the pacing problem and one thing that we’ll proceed to remain centered on,” Ryder added.  The suspected Chinese language spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Seaside, S.C., on Saturday. (REUTERS/Randall Hill)Nearly all of the PLA’s surveillance program is performed by using satellites, however Beijing additionally apparently noticed a possibility for added intelligence gathering. CHINA REFUSED CALL WITH PENTAGON AFTER F-22 SHOT DOWN SPY FLIGHTThe balloons journey by the higher ambiance, hovering between 60,000 and 80,000 ft above Earth, above the place business jets journey.  White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday advised reporters “these balloons are a part of a PRC [People’s Republic of China] fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations” and mentioned they’ve “violated the sovereignty” of a number of nations. China has tried to jot down off the surveillance balloon that floated throughout the U.S. for seven days earlier than being shot down as a climate balloon caught astray. However U.S. protection officers have dismissed these claims.   U.S. forces haul particles from China’s surveillance balloon onto a ship off the coast of South Carolina. (U.S. Fleet Forces)Nationwide Safety Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby mentioned Monday the U.S. “took steps to mitigate no matter assortment functionality the balloon would have over our delicate army websites.” He additionally advised reporters the U.S. choice to not strike down the balloon till it was safely over the Atlantic “afforded us a terrific alternative to achieve a greater understanding to check the capabilities of this balloon.” CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPDeputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Monday briefed almost 150 diplomats from 40 embassies throughout the globe on China’s espionage program.  The U.S. has additionally begun to share particular particulars about its findings with allies like Japan, whose army has been immediately focused by Beijing’s efforts.   Jennifer Griffin presently serves as a nationwide safety correspondent for FOX Information Channel (FNC) and relies out of the Washington D.C. bureau. She joined the community in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent.