The US has not observed any new launches since the incident, security agencies said
China seems to have moved forward with regard to the balloon surveillance program after the diplomatic episode with the US earlier this year, reports CNN citing US intelligence sources.
American officials believe that China’s leadership has decided to suspend this program and not launch any more balloons. The US has not observed any new launches since the incident occurred.
The apparent suspension of the program comes as both the US and China have sought to stabilize their already strained relationship. Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu, when asked to comment on the balloon surveillance program, told CNN that the February episode was “unexpected” and “isolated.”
“Since the incident happened, China has repeatedly said the hot air balloon found over the US was an unmanned civilian aircraft used for meteorological and other research purposes and that its accidental entry into US airspace was a completely unexpected and isolated incident.” said Liu.
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Chinese Communist Party leaders did not intend for the balloon to fly over the United States, and even reprimanded the surveillance program’s operators for the incident, one of the sources said.
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