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China’s spy balloons have been spying on India & Japan too, says US report  

Chinese spy balloons targetted India too, collected info on military assets

India and Japan also figure in the list of countries that China’s spy balloons have been operating over to collect information on military assets, according to a report in the The Washington Post newspaper on Tuesday.

U.S. intelligence officials disclosed that the Chinese spy balloon destroyed by a fighter jet on Saturday is part of a vast surveillance program run by the People’s Liberation Army, and U.S. officials have begun to brief allies and partners who have been similarly targeted, the report said.

The surveillance balloon effort, which has operated for several years partly out of Hainan province off China’s south coast, has collected information on military assets in countries and areas of emerging strategic interest to China including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines, the Washington Post said. report said.

The newspaper said it had spoken to several U.S. officials, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the  sensitivity of the matter.

On Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman briefed officials from about 40 embassies in Washington about the Chinese spy balloon operations.

China’s spy balloon had been shot down by a US F-22 fighter jet over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern coast of the United States on Saturday. The balloon then fell into relatively shallow water just 47 feet deep..

The operation was worked out to allow the authorities to collect the fallen debris from US territorial waters. Recovery efforts began shortly after the balloon was downed, an official said.

Saturday afternoon was the military’s first chance to take down the balloon “in a way that would not pose a threat to the safety of Americans,” a senior defence official had told reporters.