THE UK is “in touch with allies” after a minister claimed Chinese spy balloons may have already flown over the country, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said. 

It comes after the US military shot down a series of objects in western airspace, including a suspected spy balloon from China, with a fourth object taken out by fighter jets on Sunday on the orders of President Joe Biden.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced a security review will take place, and while PM Sunak refused to comment in detail on national security matters, he insisted the UK was in “constant touch” with allies.

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US fighter jets shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday – the fourth object to enter US or Canadian airspace in just over a week.

On February 4, the US military downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it travelled over sensitive military sites across North America.

Almost a week later on Friday, they shot down an unknown “car-sized” object flying in US airspace off the coast of Alaska.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that he ordered a US warplane to shoot down an unidentified object that was flying high over northern Canada.

The National: A fourth object in US airspace was shot down on the orders of Joe BidenA fourth object in US airspace was shot down on the orders of Joe Biden

On Sunday, a further unidentified object was shot down with a missile by US fighter jets over Lake Huron.

“I want people to know that we will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe,” Sunak told broadcasters during a visit to Royton, Oldham.

“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.”

The Prime Minister declined to be drawn on the possibility of similar incidents in UK airspace.

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“People should be reassured that we have all the capabilities in place to keep the country safe,” he said.

Transport minister Richard Holden earlier suggested that it was “possible” that Chinese spy balloons might already have been used over the UK.

“It is also possible, and I would think likely, that there would be people from the Chinese government trying to act as a hostile state,” he told Sky News.

Holden said the UK had to be “robust” in how it dealt with Beijing, admitting the UK Government was “concerned about what’s going on” in the US.

Downing Street said that the UK was “well prepared” to deal with security threats to British airspace, with threats judged on a “case-by-case” basis.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson did not use Holden’s word “hostile” to describe China, but indicated that the foreign policy designation of the country will be reviewed as part of the update to the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.

“China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests.

“It is a challenge that grows more acute as it moves to even greater authoritarianism.

“You will know we are updating the Integrated Review and it will take into account some of these evolving challenges we are seeing,” the spokesperson said.

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Wallace said on Sunday that the UK and its allies would “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,” the Defence Secretary said.

Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said China was “exploiting the West’s weakness” with the potential spy balloons.

The former defence minister 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 comes as China's foreign ministry accused the US of flying spy balloons into their airspace on 10 occasions since the beginning of this year. 

Wang Wenbin, China's foreign ministry spokesperson who described the country's reaction as “responsible and professional”, said: “Since last year, the US’s high-altitude balloons have undergone more than 10 illegal flights into Chinese airspace without the approval of the relevant Chinese departments."

The White House denied the accusation.