Central America

"a fleet of surveillance balloons operated by China"

2/6/23; updated 2/7/23
from The Gray Area:
2/6/23; updated 2/7/23:
..."a fleet of surveillance balloons operated by China". That is the first thing most people thought today as they heard of a second, 'off course weather balloon' from China was crossing Latin America. The story below from The Wall Street Journal gets into the subject in Latin America & the possibility of a 'fleet'. Also, this story in The Washington Post. Of course, the Chinese government's response to all this is laughable. But, in addition, you have to think, if they are sending this 'fleet' of balloons out, they have to expect at least one would be spotted. Were these denials the only planned response? Is this a diversion while something else takes place? Was this a simple test to see how the US would detect and react to such a bizarre incursion? Suppose we find no surveillance equipment on board the balloon? Suppose we do? Then, there is this.  China made huge land purchase just minutes from top secret US military drone base. This balloon was flying near US bases. There have been others. From balloons to suspicious land purchases, any connection? We don't know anything for sure yet, but we should be prepared. I'm concerned that our current leadership is not prepared.
from The Wall Street Journal,
China confirmed that it was the source of a balloon detected flying over Latin America, describing it in similar terms to the suspected surveillance balloon that the U.S. shot down over the weekend. Pentagon officials over the weekend said the second balloon was seen transiting across Central and South America, and characterized it as a fleet of surveillance balloons operated by China. That announcement followed the decision to shoot down another such balloon that had been flying over the U.S. on Saturday, which drew criticism from China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning on Monday described the balloon over Latin America as an unmanned airship for research purposes that had been blown off course by bad weather—an explanation virtually identical to the one China gave for the balloon that flew over the U.S. A senior U.S. defense official said over the weekend that the Pentagon believed both the U.S. balloon and the one detected in Latin America were for surveillance purposes. “These balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries,” the official said, referring to the People’s Republic of China. The confirmation of the second balloon received muted responses from authorities in Latin America, where governments in recent years have sought to fortify trade ties with Beijing in search of Chinese support from infrastructure financing to Covid-19 vaccines. Costa Rica’s civil aviation authority and Colombia’s Air Force reported spotting a balloon-like object entering their respective countries’ airspaces on Friday, similar to the one shot down by the U.S. But both countries said they couldn’t determine the origin of the object and neither pointed the finger at China. The governments of Mexico, Argentina and Brazil declined to comment. More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

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