China's mysterious balloons over Taiwan spark psychological warfare speculation
For the second consecutive time, Taiwan has reported the presence of eight balloons from China, six of which passed directly over the island's airspace. These balloons traveled at different altitudes, ranging from 11,811 to 34,448 feet. The Taiwanese defense ministry released this information on Sunday.
On the day before, the Taiwanese defense department also noted the presence of eight Chinese-origin balloons. This is the most significant number of balloons ever recorded in the area since the defense ministry began publishing data on this matter in December.
Uncertainty remains over their military function
The exact purpose of these balloons, specifically whether they serve any military function, remains unclear. Authorities in Taipei suspect that the balloon flights might be part of a psychological warfare campaign Beijing is orchestrating to unsettle the residents of the island, considering China's historical claim over Taiwan.
The Taiwanese defense ministry has reassured its citizens: "We are closely monitoring the situation and will respond appropriately."
Similar instances observed over the US
Exactly a year ago, the American army downed a Chinese balloon that was moving through airspace over the United States. The U.S. government accused China of conducting a surveillance operation, which Beijing refuted, insisting that the balloon was dispatched merely to collect weather data.
In June 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense refuted their earlier claims, stating that the balloon probably did not gather significant data.