US President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, on Feb. 16, 2023. Biden spoke about the series of objects the US has downed over the past two weeks, in his first extended public remarks about the episode. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Washington: US President Joe Biden said Thursday that he won't hesitate to bring down any aerial object seen as a threat to the United States.

"If any object presents a threat to the safety, security (of) the American people I will take it down," Biden said several days after ordering the shootdown of a Chinese surveillance balloon and three other objects.

Biden in a speech said that three unidentified objects shot down by US fighter jets did not appear to have been used for spying on the United States and were likely tied to benign purposes.

The intelligence community believes the three objects were "most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions," Biden said.

Biden said he hoped the new rules would help “distinguish between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.”

Biden said the rules would remain classified so as not to “give a roadmap to our enemies to try to evade our defenses.”


Biden expects 'to be talking to President Xi'

Biden also said he is planning to have a conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

"I expect to be speaking with President Xi and I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this," Biden said, adding: "I make no apologies for taking down that balloon."

He said the US intelligence community was still trying to learn more about the three unidentified objects: one that was shot down over Alaska, one over Canada and a third that plunged into Lake Huron.

"We don't yet know exactly what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests they were related to the spy balloon program, or they were surveillance vehicles from other any other country," he said.

Biden said the objects might have been spotted due to enhanced radar in response to the Chinese balloon and that he and his team were working on new parameters on when to launch missiles at such aircraft.