Spy balloon confirms ‘sample of Chinese language conduct’ that poses menace to NATO members, Stoltenberg says

NATO Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg delivers remarks to the information media as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts Stoltenberg on the State Division in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2022.

Leah Millis | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Chinese language spy balloon that drifted throughout the USA final week presents safety challenges for NATO’s 30-member alliance in addition to different international locations across the globe, NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg mentioned on Wednesday.

“The balloon over the USA confirms a sample of Chinese language conduct the place we see that China has invested closely in new capabilities, together with various kinds of surveillance and intelligence platforms,” Stoltenberg mentioned throughout a press convention in Washington, DC beside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“We want to pay attention to the fixed danger of Chinese language intelligence and step up what we do to guard ourselves and react in a prudent and accountable approach,” he mentioned, including that European international locations have seen a rise in Chinese language intelligence actions.

U.S. officers have lengthy complained that Chinese language firms are beholden to the Individuals’s Republic of China and accumulate delicate info on behalf of the Individuals’s Liberation Military. The Chinese language Communist Celebration has beforehand mentioned that it doesn’t interact in espionage. 

Spy balloon confirms ‘sample of Chinese language conduct’ that poses menace to NATO members, Stoltenberg says

Stoltenberg mentioned China was build up its navy and nuclear capabilities “with none transparency.”

“It’s trying to claim management over the South China Sea and threatening Taiwan, making an attempt to take management of crucial infrastructure, together with in NATO international locations, repressing its personal residents and trampling on human rights and deepening its strategic partnership with Moscow,” he mentioned. “So NATO allies have actual considerations which we focus on right now.”

Stoltenberg’s remarks come because the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard full a restoration operation of the downed spy balloon roughly six miles off the coast of South Carolina. On Saturday, Biden gave the order to take the 200-foot-tall spy balloon out of the sky. The operation resulted in an F-22 fighter jet shearing a gap within the backside of the balloon with a sidewinder missile.

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 get better a high-altitude surveillance balloon off the coast of Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina, Feb. 5, 2023.

Picture: U.S. Navy

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Air Pressure Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder mentioned Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin referred to as his Chinese language counterpart on Saturday following the navy mission. Chinese language officers didn’t settle for the decision.

Blinken mentioned the U.S. intelligence group was finding out the balloon and that the U.S. would proceed to replace allies in addition to international locations around the globe that could be victims of Chinese language espionage.

“The US was not the one goal of this broader program, which has violated the sovereignty of nations throughout 5 continents,” Blinken mentioned.

“In our engagements, we’re once more listening to from our companions that the world expects China and the USA to handle our relationship responsibly. That is exactly what we got down to do. We proceed to induce China to do the identical,” he added.

Final week, within the handful of hours earlier than Blinken was set to journey to Beijing, the Biden administration introduced that it was indefinitely suspending the journey. He was slated to fulfill along with his Chinese language counterpart and probably Chinese language President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

“The presence of this balloon in our airspace is a transparent violation of our sovereignty in addition to worldwide legislation and is unacceptable that this has occurred,” a senior administration official mentioned on a name with reporters, including {that a} diplomatic journey couldn’t happen beneath such circumstances.

The official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity, mentioned the U.S. will rethink a visit to China at a later date and remained open to conversations with Beijing within the interim.