“If an object threatens the safety of the American people, I will shoot it down.”
U.S. President, Joe Bidensaid Thursday that he plans to speak with his Chinese counterpart, Xi JinpingXi Jinping, about the “spy” balloon he ordered to be shot down on February 4, but said he would not apologize for shooting it down.
“I hope to talk to President Xi and I want to get to the bottom of this matter. But I’m not going to apologize for shooting down that balloon.“The president said in an appearance before the press at the White House.
Biden further warned that he will not hesitate to shoot down any flying object that poses a threat to the American people: “If an object threatens the safety of Americans, I will shoot it down.“, he sentenced.
The Chinese “spy” balloon was located in late January in U.S. airspace and was shot down over Atlantic waters on February 4. It had been flying for days over several areas of the country, including the state of Montana (northwest), where one of three nuclear missile silo fields is located. existing in the United States.
For its part, the Chinese government has asserted that the balloon entered U.S. airspace by straying by error of its trajectory and states that it was used to meteorological purposes, not espionage.
In addition to the “spy” balloon, the U.S. has shot down in the last week several others. three flying objects in its territory and Canada, the origin of which is being investigated by U.S. and Canadian authorities.
Biden said that these latest flying objects do not appear to have any link to the Chinese “spy” balloon and that, in fact, U.S. intelligence believes they were “probably balloons linked to private companiesrecreational” or research institutions engaged in the study of meteorological phenomena or other scientific research.
The president added that there has been no increase in flying objects in U.S. airspace. and attributed the recent downing of such objects to changes in radar frequencies made by the Armed Forces after detecting the Chinese “spy” balloon.
To address this situation, Biden has said that his National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, is drafting new rules on flying object detection to incorporate into the national defense strategy.
After years of tensions with Republican Donald Trump’s administration (2017-2021), Biden and Xi met for the first time as presidents last year at the G20 in Bali in an attempt to defuse tensions and prevent rivalry between the two powers from escalating into open conflict.
However, the discovery of the “spy balloons” has revived tensions and even led to the suspension of a trip to China planned by the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.