The threat is taken very seriously.
The Pentagon has located what it believes to be a Chinese spy balloon flying over the north of the country, a senior US defense official said Thursday.
"The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is currently over the continental United States," the Pentagon spokesman said, quoted by NBC News.
The craft was spotted above Billings in the state of Montana (North) on Wednesday.
It flew over the Aleutian Islands and crossed Canada before reaching the United States.
According to a senior defense official quoted by the channel, the ball is still over the United States, but its current position is being kept secret by the Pentagon.
Hunters sent to meet him
At the request of President Joe Biden, the Pentagon considered shooting him down but the decision was made not to because of the potential risks to those on the ground, the senior official said.
According to NBC, fighter jets were even sent to meet him.
“Currently, we believe that this balloon has limited added value from the point of view of intelligence gathering,” explained the senior defense official to the American channel.
“Nevertheless, we are taking all necessary measures to protect ourselves against this collection of information,” he said, adding that the balloon did not pose a threat to civil aviation due to its altitude.