China spy balloons: Rishi Sunak on UK response as minister says it’s “possible” China has sent balloons to UK
The warning from the transport minister comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addresses fears over Chinese spy balloons
A minister has said it’s “possible” China has sent spy balloons to UK airspace as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak moves to reassure the public. It comes after a balloon was first shot down over the USA last week and another unidentified object shot down on Sunday
A total of four unidentified objects have now been shot down over North America. The fourth of these was destroyed by US fighter jets in Michigan on Sunday afternoon (February 12).
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to broadcasters today and addressed concerns saying he was in touch with the UK’s allies. Speaking on Sky News he said they would make sure the UK was ‘always protected’.
Transport minister Richard Holden told Sky News earlier in the day about the precautions in place. He said: "I think we’ve got to be realistic about the threat that these countries pose to the UK. They’re not interested in our democratic values, they’re not interested in standing up for human rights around the world.
"We need to be aware of that and the way it acts and behaves… and we’ve got to be really robust in our dealings with China."
On whether or not the balloons have been used over the UK, Mr Holden said: "It’s possible. It’s also possible that - and I would think likely - that there will be people from the Chinese government trying to act as a hostile state.
"We saw it with Russia here in the UK with the Salisbury poisonings and other actions that they’ve taken."
Prime minister Rishi Sunak has assured people that everything will be done to protect the nation. He said: “I want people to know that we will do everything it takes to keep the country safe. We have something called the Quick Reaction Alert Force which involves Typhoon planes which are kept on 24/7 readiness to police our air space.
“I can’t go into detail on national security matters, but we’re in constant touch with our allies and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep our country safe.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed a review into airspace security will take place. He said: "The UK and her allies will review what these airspace intrusions mean for our security. This development is another sign of how the global threat picture is changing for the worse."