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Blinken says U.S. shared information on Chinese balloon with dozens of countries


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2023.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday the United States has shared information it has obtained about China’s spy balloon with dozens of countries around the world.

Blinken also told a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that he had discussed with him the systemic and tactical challenges China presents to the alliance.

Blinken said the United States was gaining more information “almost by the hour” on the balloon, which the United States shot down on Saturday, as salvage work progressed, and relevant findings would be shared with the U.S. Congress and U.S. allies and partners around the world.

Stoltenberg said the flight of the Chinese balloon confirmed a pattern of Chinese behavior and the need to be aware of the constant risk of Chinese intelligence activity. He also said China was “substantially” building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, without any transparency.

When asked If Chinese leader Xi Jinping was aware of the balloon flights, Blinken said:

“As to who’s responsible for that, China is. And it doesn’t matter on one level, which individuals may or may not have been responsible. The fact is China engaged in this irresponsible action, a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity and international law.”