No indication that objects shot down linked to Chinese spy balloon: Biden

The US and Canadian military are seeking to recover the debris so they can learn more about these three objects. The intelligence community is still assessing all three incidences

Joe Biden

Photo: Bloomberg

Press Trust of India Washington
The three high-flying objects which were shot down over the American and Canadian airspace this month were not related to the Chinese balloon programme, but most likely tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions, US President Joe Biden said Thursday.
Biden said this in his speech at the White House, his first one after a Chinese balloon was shot down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. Three other high-flying objects were shot down by American fighter jets two in the US and one in Canada.
"The US and Canadian military are seeking to recover the debris so they can learn more about these three objects. The intelligence community is still assessing all three incidences. They're reported to him daily and will continue their urgent efforts to do so, and he will communicate that to the Congress," Biden said.
"We don't yet know exactly what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests they were related to China's spy balloon programme or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country," he said.
"The intelligence community's current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research," Biden said.
The President said that when he came into office, he instructed the intelligence community to take a broad look at the phenomenon of unidentified aerial objects.
"We know that a range of entities, including countries, companies, and research organizations, operate objects at altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious, including legitimate scientific research. I want to be clear. We don't have any evidence that there has been a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky," he said.
"We're now just seeing more of them partially because the steps we've taken to narrow our radars. We have to keep adapting our approach to dealing with these challenges. That's why I've directed my team to come back to me with sharper rules for how we will deal with these unidentified objects moving forward, distinguishing between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not," he said.
Biden at the same time asserted that the US will shoot down any object that threatens American security.
"If any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down. I'll be sharing with the Congress these classified policy parameters when they are completed, and they'll remain classified, so we don't give our roadmap to our enemies to try to evade our defences," he said.
The President shared details of the policy parameters adding that he has directed his national security advisor to lead a government-wide effort to make sure they are positioned to deal safely and effectively with the objects in US airspace.
"First, we will establish a better inventory of unmanned airborne objects in space above the United States airspace and make sure that inventory is accessible and up to date. Second, we will implement further measures to improve our capacity to detect unmanned objects in our airspace. Third, we'll update the rules and regulations for launching and maintaining unmanned objects in the skies above the United States of America," Biden said.
The Secretary of State, he said, will lead an effort to help establish a common global norm in this largely unregulated space. "These steps will lead to safer and more secure skies for air travellers, military, scientists, and for people on the ground as well."

"As the events of the previous days have shown, we'll always act to protect the interests of the American people and the security of the American people. Since I came to office, we've developed the ability to identify, track, and study high altitude surveillance balloons connected with the Chinese military," Biden said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 17 2023 | 6:47 AM IST

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