Headline RoundupFebruary 9th, 2023

Spy Balloon Part of Larger Chinese Military Surveillance Program

AllSides Summary

New intelligence suggests that the Chinese spy balloon that flew over the continental United States last week was part of a larger global surveillance program conducted by the Chinese Military.

Key Quotes: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that “the United States was not the only target of this broader program, which has violated the sovereignty of countries across five continents.” The Washington Post quoted an anonymous official stating, “what the Chinese have done is taken an unbelievably old technology, and basically married it with modern communications and observation capabilities.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “we just have to be vigilant,” adding “we need to be aware of the constant risk of Chinese intelligence and then step up what we do to protect ourselves.”

Details: The Washington Post first broke the story connecting the balloon to a wider surveillance effort, stating that the program “has operated for several years partly out of Hainan province off China’s south coast” and has collected information on numerous countries pertaining to China’s strategic interests, including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. Four similar balloons have flown over U.S. states or territories in recent years, but have only recently been linked to China.

How The Media Covered It: The new intelligence was covered in tandem with the widespread reflection and speculation across the spectrum on what the incident indicates about United States and Chinese relations moving forward.

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