China’s spy balloon program paused after shoot-down, says US intel

China’s spy balloon program paused after shoot-down, says US intel
via Inside Edition
Ryan General
September 19, 2023
The Chinese government appears to have halted its surveillance balloon program in the wake of its diplomatic standoff with the U.S. earlier this year. 
A source of tension: In February, one of the Chinese high-altitude balloons strayed into U.S. airspace and was subsequently shot down by American fighter jets. While the incident has since been a source of tension between the two countries, U.S. officials noted that no balloon launches have been detected since.
Balloon’s purpose: The U.S. has deemed the balloons part of a spy program that aims to collect information about its military bases and operations. Meanwhile, China has maintained that the balloon was used for civilian research purposes
Intelligence assessment: On Sept. 18, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed to CBS that the balloon did not collect any intelligence during its flight across the country, noting that it “didn’t transmit any intelligence back to China.”
Diplomatic gesture: Sources from U.S. intelligence told CNN they believe Chinese leaders intentionally suspended further balloon launches as a gesture to ease tensions with the U.S. This decision coincides with the two nations’ recent opening of other discussions aimed at mending strained relations.
President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are also potentially set to meet in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. 
Bound to return: Officials say China has continued other espionage tactics, including alleged recruitments and hacking incidents targeting American officials. They also believe China is likely to restart the program at a yet-undetermined time. 
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