OAN Deven Berryhill
UPDATED 6:00 PM PT – Thursday, February 16, 2023
President Joe Biden has said that the last three Chinese spy balloons were “benign” tied to “private companies, recreation or research institutions.” He cited that their use was most likely for “studying weather or other scientific research.”
Almost one week after the first Chinese balloon sighting, Biden broke his silence on Thursday stating “I gave the order to shoot it down as soon as it would be safe to do so.”
“The military advised against shooting it down over land because of the sheer size of it. It was the size of multiple buses and posed a risk to people on the ground,” said Biden in a White House press conference.
Biden declared that the balloon flights over U.S. airspace[s] by China to be “unacceptable.” The President affirmed that the U.S. military recovered “substantial components for further analytics” from the balloon’s debris. The president affirmed that he acted to protect our country “and we did.”
The final balloon “had multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications,” a State Department official said. “It was equipped with solar panels large enough to produce the requisite power to operate multiple active intelligence collection sensors.”
Moving forward, Biden said that he instructed his administration to come up with “sharper rules” in identifying these type of objects that “likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.”
In an effort to salvage future talks with Beijing, the President reiterated his promise to seek “competition with China, not conflict with China.” He concluded that his administration had been working hard to responsibly monitor the “competition” with China so that it does not drift into conflict.