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Not aliens — but a Chinese 'high-altitude balloon programme' for intelligence gathering

The United States National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, said in a press conference on Sunday that China has “a high-altitude balloon programme for intelligence collection connected to the People’s Liberation Army”.

Kirby did not, however, disclose the origin or purpose of the three latest aerial devices shot down over America over the weekend and said it is vital to make a distinction between the ‘spy balloon’, and the following devices, which were smaller and did not have propulsion systems.

The White House did put rumours to bed of alien involvement, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarifying that there is no evidence of aliens or extraterrestrial activity in the appearance of multiple UFOs; a joke for some, but not for others. 

The relationship between the United States and China has become increasingly strained since the first sighting of a 61-metre-high balloon flying over Montana earlier this month.

China claimed that the balloon shot down on the 4th of February was engaged in meteorological research.

Kirby was careful to not disclose details, but said the aerial devices posed a “very real” risk to civilian air traffic, given the altitude at which they were flying, and that President Biden, therefore, directed the military to take them down “out of an abundance of caution”.

Earlier on Sunday, Beijing claimed that the US had been flying balloons in its airspace over the last year, which the White House denied.

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