WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Thursday. That he did not think it was an overreaction to shoot down three unidentifiy objects over North America in the days after shooting down a Chinese spy balloon.
“I got a recommendation from the military,” Biden said in a phone call. Adding that it would have been easier not to shoot things down in the face of political pressure.
Biden also said he would like to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping. But decline to say when the interview would take place. I think the last thing Xi wants to do is break with the United States and me,” Biden said.
The interview comes after Biden made his first comments about the Chinese spy balloon and unidentify objects shot down. By the US military over North America.
“I ordered the removal of these three items because of the threat to civilian commercial air traffic. Because we could not rule out surveillance risks from sensitive facilities,” Biden said.
He said the US would shoot down any future flying object that threatened US security.
“Make no mistake, if anything is a threat to the security of the American people. I will remove it,” Biden said in a brief speech at the White House.
Diplomatic relations between the Unit States. China have been frozen since the shooting down of the balloon. Which the Chinese say was not for spying, but Biden said he would continue to talk to Xi.
“We’re not looking for a new Cold War, but I’m not apologizing,” Biden said. “I’m not apologizing, we’re going to compete. We’re going to run the competition responsibly so it doesn’t come into conflict.”
Biden said the Unit States does not yet know the identity of the three unidentifiy objects over North America. That were shot down by the military over the weekend. But he suggested the intelligence community believed they had no ill intentions.
“We still don’t know exactly what these three objects were, but there is no indication at this time. That they were connect to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from another country,” Biden said. “According to the current intelligence assessment, these three objects were most likely balloons belonging to private companies. Recreational or research organizations studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”
Biden says about Chinese; The U.S. military and Canadian military are trying to recover the debris, Biden said. The intelligence community is still evaluating all three incidents and reporting to him daily.
There is also no evidence of a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky. Biden said, explaining that the United States has seen more objects recently due to officials adjusting their radar.
Biden said he had directed his team to develop “stricter rules” for how to handle these unknowns in the future. So that the administration can distinguish “between those who are likely to pose security. Defense risks that require action and those who , who do not.” . “
Biden said the interagency team he is directing to coordinate with his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Will do four things: create an inventory of unmanned aerial vehicles; developing measures to better detect these objects in US airspace; update rules and regulations to bring them to the clouds. Their Secretary of State to lead efforts to develop global standards in this unregulated space.
Members of Congress, including Democrats, have urged Biden to publicly discuss the situation. The officers were brief by senior officials from the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the Chief of Intelligence.
“The American people need to hear more about the nature of these things, or whatever they were,” Rep. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Thursday.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said at an event Thursday that in addition to the allege Chinese spy balloon, the Unite States still does not know which three others were shot down over North America. One was shot down over Alaska on Friday, another over Canada on Saturday and the third over Lake Huron on Sunday.
“It could have been an advertisement or weather balloons,” said Kirby of Georgetown University. “It might be scientific research, but we don’t know.”
According to Kirby, the United States has yet to find any debris from the three objects.
“We haven’t found anything yet because of the landing site and the extreme winter weather there,” he said.
In a statement later Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was suspending the search in the Lake Huron area “due to a number of factors, including deteriorating weather conditions and the low likelihood of recovery.”
“Search and recovery efforts continue in the Yukon with the assistance of the Canadian military,” the statement said. “The conditions are extremely challenging with a very large search area of 3,000 square kilometers consisting of rugged and mountainous terrain with heavy snow cover and harsh winter conditions.
The United States has find the remains of a suspect Chinese balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, just over a week after it first began circling the country.
Three defense officials told NBC News that efforts to recover the Chinese spy balloon are nearing completion. They found everything the FBI considered valuable, one of the officials said.
NBC News first reported the existence of the alleged Chinese spy balloon on February 2.
Kirby said Tuesday that the agency’s team has until the end of the week to determine the parameters of how the United States will handle these matters going forward.