The Pentagon has confirmed that a suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted over the western United States, including Montana. The balloon is believed to have been floating over Montana for several days and is being monitored by the US government.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is tracking the high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon, which was first noticed by local residents in Montana. It is believed to be part of China's military intelligence gathering efforts.
"We are confident that this is a Chinese surveillance balloon," said Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson. "We are monitoring its movements and taking appropriate steps to ensure our national security."
The presence of the balloon has raised concerns among some US officials about potential espionage activities by China in the region. Montana is home to one of the nation's three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base, making it an attractive target for foreign intelligence gathering operations.
The US government has not yet commented on what steps it will take in response to the presence of the Chinese spy balloon or whether any action will be taken against China for its alleged espionage activities.