Joe Biden says he makes no apologies for downing China balloonon February 16, 2023 at 9:23 pm

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Mr Biden says he will speak with China’s President Xi Jinping soon “to get to the bottom of this”.

Joe Biden on ThursdayImage source, Reuters

President Joe Biden has said he makes no apologies for shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the coast of the US.

He said the balloon was used for surveillance, but three other objects shot down over North America were unlikely to be foreign spy crafts.

The US would now improve its detection of similar aerial objects, he said.

Mr Biden also said he would speak with China’s President Xi Jinping soon about this month’s incident.

“I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,” Mr Biden said at the White House on Thursday.

China has denied the balloon was used for surveillance, instead saying it blew off course while collecting weather data.

But Mr Biden reiterated the view of US officials that the balloon, which traversed the country at an altitude of about 40,000ft (12,192m) before being blown out of the sky by a US fighter jet over the Atlantic, was in fact used for spying.

Speaking about three other objects subsequently shot down over Alaska, north-west Canada and Michigan, Mr Biden said the intelligence community believed they were “most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions”.

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