The US said that the downed Chinese balloon was equipped with reconnaissance equipment

The Chinese balloon that the US military shot down off the coast of North Carolina was equipped with intelligence and data collection equipment, informs The New York Times, citing a US State Department document. It says that American Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft were able to take pictures of the balloon while it was in the air. After examining the footage, the State Department concluded that the equipment, including antennas, “was intended for reconnaissance surveillance and did not match the equipment installed aboard weather balloons.” This is contrary to Beijing’s claims.

The Hill, citing a State Department spokesman transmitsthat the antennas on the ball could probably receive signals and determine the location of objects. The aircraft’s solar panels were powerful enough to power several active sensors to collect intelligence.

As the NYT notes, it is not yet known what data the balloon collected and what objects it followed. Investigators intend to establish whether the technology of American or other Western companies was used to create the balloon. At the same time, Bloomberg, citing sources informsthat the ball had Western-made components with inscriptions in English, which ones are not specified.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says that the device was used for meteorological purposes and flew into the United States by accident, because it deviated from the course. After the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceled a planned visit to China, in Beijing they urged not to speculate because of the “hype” around the balloon. When the apparatus was destroyed, the Chinese Foreign Ministry protested and stated that it reserved the right to any reaction. Beijing believes that Washington has “abused military force,” which harms bilateral relations.

The Washington Post wrote that, according to the US military, the balloon is part of China’s extensive surveillance program. US intelligence believes that China’s People’s Liberation Army used its spy balloons to collect information about military installations in countries of strategic interest to China, including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.

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