Newswise — The State Department says China’s surveillance balloons have flown over more than 40 countries and can collect communications signals. 

James Roger, senior fellow at Cornell University’s Tech Policy Institute, advises the U.N. Security Council on the transnational threat of drones. He says the Chinese government has a lot of questions to answer.

Roger says: 

“U.S. official are not sure what kind of communications the balloon was trying to collect or what sites the balloon’s monitoring technology was focused on, but it’s safe the say the Chinese have a lot of questions to answer. 

“We must remember that these are important and increasingly tense times for U.S.-China relations. The presence of what many are now calling a ‘spy balloon’ will not only put a hold on talks and visits, but it will sour any good will between President Biden and President Xi. The U.S. may be able to use this in their favour to obtain concessions in negotiations, but time will tell. 

“The looming question has to be about the other 40 reported Chinese spy balloons around the world. Where were they monitoring, what where they are monitoring, and how will their presence affect China’s international relations?”