Joe Biden says he will speak with China’s president about the alleged spy balloon
President Joe Biden has said he makes no apologies for downing what the US says was a Chinese spy balloon.
Speaking to media on Thursday, Mr Biden said he expects to speak with China’s President Xi Jinping “to get to the bottom of things” after the balloon was shot down by a US fighter jet earlier this month.
“We are not looking for a new cold war,” Mr Biden said.
It’s the first time the President has made extensive remarks after the balloon and three unidentified objects were downed by American fighters.
Mr Biden did not say when he would speak with President Xi, but said the US was continuing to engage diplomatically with China on the issue.
“I expect to be speaking with President Xi, I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,” said Mr Biden in response to complaints from Beijing.
China says the 200-foot (60-metre) balloon was for monitoring weather
conditions, but Washington says it clearly was a surveillance balloon
with a massive undercarriage containing electronics.
Downed balloon the US believe is linked to China
Mr Biden, who had offered few public comments about the spate of aerial objects that began with the Chinese balloon, broke his silence after lawmakers demanded more information on the incidents, which have baffled many Americans.
He said the US intelligence community was still trying to learn more about the three unidentified objects: one that was shot down over Alaska, one over Canada and a third that plunged into Lake Huron.
“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests they were related to the Chinese spy balloon program, or they were surveillance vehicles from other any other country,” he said.
Biden said the objects might have been spotted due to enhanced radar in response to the Chinese balloon and that he and his team were working on new parameters on when to launch missiles at such aircraft.
The intelligence community believes the three objects were “most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions,” Biden said.