Sen. Tester discusses Chinese spy balloon incident during Missoula visit

Posted at 8:25 AM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 10:27:54-05

MISSOULA – U.S. Senator Jon Tester was in Missoula on Tuesday hosting a roundtable to discuss bringing more high-tech jobs to the state.

We talked with Sen. Tester – who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee -- about the suspected Chinese spy balloon that was first spotted over Billings earlier this month.

"I think what the balloon has taught us is that we need to step up our game when it comes to this,” Sen. Tester said. “And we're going to be demanding answers out of the military, and we're going to get them, and we're going to get a plan on how to deal with these balloons, which is pretty simple technology, but obviously what China did is unacceptable, an incredible threat, and we got to make sure it doesn't happen again."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with China's top diplomat over the weekend at a security conference in Munich, Germany. He stressed the importance of a direct line of communication between the U.S. and China after the surveillance balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

U.S. officials are also concerned that Chinese state-owned companies could soon provide Russia with lethal military assistance, including weapons and ammunition for its war against Ukraine.