WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Joe Biden has finally addressed the three unmanned aerial objects that were shot down by the U.S. military over the weekend.
- Biden said they were “most likely tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions”
- The president added that “Nothing right now suggests that they were related to China’s spy balloon program.”
President Joe Biden has finally broken his silence on Thursday regarding the three unmanned aerial objects that the U.S. military shot down over the weekend.
Biden said the aerial objects were “most likely tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions,” and were not connected to the giant Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down on Feb. 4.
“We don’t yet know what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests that they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country,” Biden said at the White House.
Biden addressed the issue days after receiving mounting pressure from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who insisted the American people deserved to hear from the president.
The president explained that after the massive Chinese balloon was shot down, US military defense radars raised their sensitivity levels “to pick up more slow-moving objects above our country and around the world.”
“In doing so, they tracked three unidentified objects, in Alaska, Canada and over Lake Huron in the Midwest,” he said.
Biden added that he ordered to take down these three aerial objects “due to hazards to civilian commercial air traffic, and because we could not rule out the surveillance risk over sensitive facilities.”
The White House said it had recovered key surveillance technology from the Chinese balloon. “What we learn will strengthen our capabilities,” Biden added.
It was not clear whether any debris from the three aerial objects had been recovered.
Last week, the US announced new sanctions on six Chinese military and aerial technology firms for their alleged involvement in China’s global aerial surveillance program.
Beijing announced Thursday its intent to levy sanctions against major U.S. defense contractors in apparent retaliation for the US sanctions.
In his speech, Biden sought to lower tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
“We seek competition, not conflict with China,” said the president. “We’re not looking for a new Cold War … we will compete and will we responsibly manage that competition so that it doesn’t veer into conflict.”
Biden said he expected to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping and “get to the bottom” of the spy balloon incident.
The Chinese spy balloon was first detected in American airspace off of Alaska on Jan. 28. It was struck down on Feb. 4 off the coast of South Carolina.
Biden said that shooting down the balloon sent “a clear message that the violation of our sovereignty was unacceptable. We’ll act to protect our country and we did.”
Biden vowed to keep better track of unmanned aerial objects.
“These steps will lead to safer and more secure skies for our air travelers, our military, our scientists and for people on the ground as well,” Biden added. “That’s my job as your president and commander in chief.”
Source: ABC News