The United States government held briefings in Washington and Beijing to inform foreign diplomats from around 40 countries about the Chinese spy balloon that entered U.S. airspace in late January.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman provided a briefing to nearly 150 foreign diplomats across 40 embassies in Washington, while the U.S. embassy in Beijing gathered foreign diplomats to present the U.S. findings regarding the balloon.
The purpose of the briefings was to share information with nations that may also be susceptible to similar operations in the future. In the briefings in Beijing, the U.S. presented evidence to demonstrate that the balloon was not a weather research balloon as China had claimed, but was actually an airship used for espionage purposes, controlled by the Chinese military (the People’s Liberation Army).
The diplomats in attendance at the Beijing briefing were informed that the solar panels on the balloon indicated it needed more power than a weather balloon and its flight path was not consistent with natural wind patterns.
The information shared was similar to what the Pentagon has said in recent days, that the balloons were part of a Chinese aerial fleet that has violated the sovereignty of other countries.
The exact size of the balloon fleet remains unknown, but the U.S. has said that there have been “dozens” of missions since 2018, using technology provided by a private Chinese company.