Balloon Transit Over Latin America Confirmed
Ryder confirmed the reports of the balloon transiting Latin America during a briefing on Thursday. A senior defense official added that the U.S. government is confident it is from the People's Republic of China.
Balloon Over Montana
The balloon was recently over Montana. The U.S. government considered shooting it down but decided against using military force due to potential risks. President Biden asked for military options after being briefed on the situation.
Chinese Response on Balloon
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the balloon is a civilian airship used for meteorological research and deviated from its planned course due to the Westerlies and limited self-steering capability.
Pentagon's Response on Chinese Claim
The Pentagon does not believe the object is a weather balloon that veered off course. A senior U.S. official stated that the balloon's departure from mainland China was intentional.
Cancelled Trip to China
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a previously planned trip to China due to the discovery of the balloon. The balloon was seen over Kansas City, Missouri, and Ryder stated it would probably hover over U.S. airspace for a few days.