Biden defends response to Chinese balloon — RT World News

An unnamed senior State Department official claimed the balloon was capable of “signaling intelligence-gathering operations”.

US President Joe Biden has defended his administration’s response after a Chinese-made hot air balloon entered US airspace, insisting the suspicious device does not represent a “major violation.” While lawmakers from both parties criticized the delay in shooting down the plane, Biden said it had to be done as soon as possible.

The President was asked about the hot air balloon incident in a interview with Spanish-language outlet Noticias Telemundo on Thursday, suggesting it never poses a serious risk to life or limb while claiming he has no regrets about the US response.

“The total amount of intelligence gathering going on in every country in the world is overwhelming,” he say. “It’s not a huge violation. I mean, listen… it’s against international law. That is our airspace. And once it enters our space, we can do what we want with it.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have criticize the president for waiting nearly a week before giving the order to shoot down the balloon, but Biden cited concerns among military officials that the balloon could land in a densely populated area and cause harm, and said that the order was given as soon as possible.

“This thing is huge. What if it fell and hit a school in the countryside? What if it went down? So I told them as soon as they could shoot it down, shoot it down.” he say. “They made a wise decision. They shot it down on the water, they’re recovering most of the parts and they’re fine.”

For its part, Beijing insists the unmanned balloon was used to collect meteorological data and denies it was for surveillance purposes, saying it had inadvertently entered US airspace. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning accused Washington of conducting “information war” after US officials claimed China kept a spy balloon network across the US, calling allegations “irresponsible.”

IN comment to several media outlets on Thursday, an unnamed senior State Department official confirmed that a flotilla of Chinese surveillance ships was operating. “in more than 40 countries across five continents,” added that the balloons are “Obviously for intelligence surveillance.”

Hot air balloon entering the US is “equipped with solar panels large enough to generate the power needed to power the many active intelligence-gathering sensors,” and its device is “not suitable for equipment on weather balloons,” officer continued. Images from the US U-2 spy plane also show that the balloon has “capable of conducting intelligence-gathering operations.”

Although China has repeatedly said that the plane is a civilian airship, the official claims its manufacturer “having direct ties to the Chinese military” and is a “approved supplier” of the People’s Liberation Army. However, they did not name the company in question and declined to cite evidence to support the alleged ties to the Beijing military.

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