China May Have Sent Spy Balloons Into UK Airspace, Minister Says

The UK is to launch a security review over how it monitors its own skies following the series of suspicious objects spotted over North America.
Chinese spy balloon flying above Charlotte
Chinese spy balloon flying above Charlotte
Anadolu Agency via Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A minister said it is “possible” that China has sent spy balloons into the UK after a series of flying objects have entered US airspace over the last fortnight.

The US has just shot down a fourth flying object only on Sunday, following growing concerns about deteriorating relations between China and the West.

When asked by Sky News presenter Anna Jones on Monday if the UK may have had “Chinese spy balloons” in its airspace, transport minister Richard Holden said it was “possible”.

“It’s also possible – and I would think likely – that there will be people from the Chinese government trying to act as a hostile state,” Holden explained.

“We saw with Russia, here in the UK with the Salisbury poisonings and other actions they have taken, I think we’ve got to be realistic that these countries are opposed to the UK.

“They’re not interested in our democratic values, they’re not interested in human rights around the world.

“We are and we’ve got to keep promoting those values at the same time as, whenever we can, offer sanctuary to people from some of these countries, especially those we’ve got a relationship to, with reference to Hong Kong.

His comments come after defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that the UK will be carrying out a security review with its allies due to the spy balloon saga.

It will look into whether the UK needs to change how it monitors its skies.

Wallace told The Sun: “Is it the case that a Chinese satellite has probably circled Britain and looked at us?

“I should think yes.”

He said that it is “not unusual” for satellites to float around high in the sky, adding that they have been doing so for years.

But, as Wallace explained on Sunday night: “The UK and her allies will review what these airspace intrusions mean for our security.

“This development is another sign of how the global threat picture is changing for the worse.”

Wallace has also previously said that if one such balloon was seen over the UK, he would shoot it down.

The chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Kearns, also told The Telegraph that the British airspace is “protected by an exceptionally quick reaction force, which has proved itself very capable against unknown and hostile aircraft”.

“The US will share with us and Five Eyes allies its conclusions on the capabilities of the Chinese balloons and at that point an internal review of our ability to identify, track, disrupt and destroy these balloons will be undertaken.”

The White House claims Chinese balloons have been seen over five continents although it did not name them.

The first suspected spy balloon was shot down on Saturday, February 4, the next over Alaska on Friday, February 10.

A third followed over a Canadian province of Yukon on Saturday, February 11, and a fourth on Sunday, February 12, flying over Lake Huron between the US and Canada.

China has also claimed to have been preparing to shoot an object near its own shorelines, but has offered no further details.


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