The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he will do “whatever it takes to keep the country safe” from Chinese spy balloons entering UK airspace.
Downing Street has said that the UK is “well prepared” to deal with threats and “we have all the capabilities in place to keep the country safe.”
Sunak said, “I want people to know that we will do whatever 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 airspace, which is incredibly important.
“I can’t obviously comment in detail on national security matters, but we are in constant touch with our allies and, as I said, we will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe.”
Sunak was asked if there had been any incidents in UK airspace, the Prime Minister said, “As I said, I wouldn’t comment in detail on security matters but people should be reassured that we have all the capabilities in place to keep the country safe.”
Transport Minister Richard Holden said that it is “possible” that spy balloons have already entered UK airspace.
He added: “China is a hostile state and we need to be aware of that and the way it acts and behaves.
“I think there was an era when China could have gone a different way and perhaps opened up.
“But it is quite clear at the moment that it is not going in that direction and we have got to be really robust in our dealings with China.”
The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “The UK and her allies will review what these airspace intrusions mean for our security.”
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, warned China is “exploiting the West’s weakness” with the spy balloons.
Ellwood told Times Radio, “I think this is a testament as to where China is going.
“It is interpreting our wobbly international rules-based order to its own benefit.
“It is exploiting the West’s weakness, it is joining together with Russia, quietly, to try and weaken the West, to weaken the United States in particular so it can thrive itself.
“That is the new economic battlefield that we now see.”