More Balloons Popping Up In Latin America And South Korea

The Chinese spy balloon phenomenon continues to spread around the globe as more sightings are reported in far-flung locations.

The Colombian military has now reported a “balloon-like object” floating in its airspace and another balloon — believed to be of North Korean origin — flew over South Korea.

Colombian military officials confirmed the sighting of an object traveling at less than 30 miles per hour at an altitude of 55,000 feet. Air Force officials described it as having “characteristics similar to those of a balloon,” and authorities did not determine the object to be a security threat.

The sighting was made on Friday, one day before the Chinese spy balloon was downed by an American fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina.

Officials did not speculate on the origin of the object in its airspace, but the U.S. military announced the presence of another “unmanned aircraft” over Latin America. This coincided with the period last week when the Chinese spy balloon traversed the U.S. before being shot down in the Atlantic.

Other glimpses of the balloon were described on social media by users in Venezuela and Costa Rica. Planes were notified last Thursday of an object over Costa Rica, according to Fernando Naranjo, head of the civil aviation agency.

He described the object as a “white ball” and said no further action was taken.

Venezuela, a Chinese ally, released a statement on Sunday condemning the U.S. downing of the spy balloon the day before. It made no mention of the balloon in its airspace.

On the other side of the Pacific, South Korean officials reported Monday that a North Korean balloon entered its airspace briefly before drifting back across the border. And unlike the Chinese versions, South Korea believed this craft was a real weather balloon.

It only stayed south of the border for a few hours, and the military said it took “measures” during that time. No attempt was made to shoot it down.

Balloons are hardly a new issue along the border dividing the Koreas. South Korean activists have long used balloons to float messages condemning the Pyongyang regime across the border to their northern neighbors.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the balloons also had medicines and protective gear attached to them. The North Korean government, as expected, reacted angrily to the incursions and even suggested that the balloons were the cause of its coronavirus outbreak.