Hours after China admitted to owing the high-altitude 'suspicious spy balloon' spotted over Montana, speculations were rife that it took off from Wuhan, the suspected epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic. China claimed that it was a research balloon.
Chinese Claim Balloon to be a Civilian Device
CBS News reported that the U.S. Defense Department described the balloon's payload to be as large as the size two to three school buses. On Friday China claimed that the airship was a civilian device "used for scientific research such as meteorology."
In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that the airship was "affected by the westerly wind" and its ability to control its direction "is limited." The outlet further reported that the statement also insisted that the balloon "seriously deviated from the scheduled route" and expressed regret that "the airship strayed into the United States due to force majeure."
The balloon, which was spotted over Montana, housing country's nuclear missile silos, moved over to the Midwest hovering over the U.S. skies, by Friday morning. New York Post reported that Mao Ning, the Chinese Foreign Ministrywuhan spokesperson, said that China hopes "that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully."
"China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country," Mao said.
Speculations About Balloon Grow
Even though the Chinese government has claimed that the airship does not pose any threat, speculations are strife on social media about it being a bioweapon.
It was further fueled by the statement of House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) who suggested that it contained bioweapons from Wuhan.
"My concern is that the federal government obviously doesn't know what's in that balloon. Is that bioweapons, weapons in that balloon?Did that balloon take off from Wuhan? We don't know anything about that balloon. But the fact that this balloon was slowly making its way to the United States for several days and this administration never alerted anyone about the possibility of this balloon coming up, I think it is very concerning. It's very concerning. They didn't shoot it out of the air before it even reached the continental United States," Comer said while appearing on Fox News.
"Chinese spy balloon will float for "a few days": China says it is a meteorological research airship deviated from its path, US argues it has "surveillance capabilities". As it is in US airspace, why not bring it down? Too big? Some fear hidden new Covid-23 mutants from Wuhan," tweeted a user.