Rogue balloons shot down in the US were not Chinese spy devices, says Biden (video)

United States President Joe Biden yesterday announced that he will speak with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, over the recent Balloongate incidents, adding he doubted they were spy balloons sent from China.

US military shot down three rogue balloons over South Carolina, Alaska, and Lake Huron on the US-Canada border this month claiming they were Chinese surveillance balloons. But in a remarkable turnaround, the US President backtracked on the earlier spy balloon accusations saying they were “most likely” operated by private companies or research institutions rather than China.

The 80 year old US premier speaking at the Eisenhower executive office building said he would “be speaking with President Xi to… get to the bottom of this.”

“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were but nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country.

“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 added that efforts to relocate the balloon wreckage have been hampered by the weather so a full investigation into what surveillance technology is onboard the ballons, if any, has not happened.

He acknowledged that balloons are sent up by countries, companies and research organisations for reasons 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. We’re now just seeing more of them partially because of the steps we’ve taken to increase our radars.”

It was thought that the balloon brought down in South Carolina was a Chinese surveillance vehicle, according to the White House National Security Council.

The balloon possessed the capacity to gather communications, and China had allegedly flown comparable surveillance balloons over several nations on various continents, including some of the United States’ closest allies. China refuted the claim that the balloon was a surveillance aircraft.

China foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the balloon’s entry into US airspace was “an unintended, unexpected and isolated event.

“China has repeatedly communicated this to the US side, yet the US overreacted by abusing the use of force and escalating the situation.

“It also used the incident as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions on Chinese companies and institutions. China is strongly opposed to this and will take countermeasures in accordance with law against relevant US entities that have undermined China’s sovereignty and security to firmly safeguard China’s sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests.”

Relations between China and the US have been strained over the past several years. US ignorance or disregard of the One-China policy they signed up to some 50 years ago is alarming.

The One-China policy of Taiwan as a province and part of the Chinese mainland was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 1971 and by another 181 countries. Yet the US has continued to bang the drums of war, using Taiwan as an excuse.

Furthermore, the US is unhappy China has not condemned Russia for its part in the conflict with Ukraine. It appeared that the world’s largest economic superpowers ironed out any differences at the G20 Summit last year but problems still rumble on.

Biden criticised China’s surveillance programme, saying the “violation of our sovereignty is unacceptable,” but said he looks to maintain open lines of communication with Beijing. “We’re not looking for a new cold war.”

“I expect to be speaking with President Xi and I hope we can get to the bottom of this. But I make no apologies for taking down that balloon.”

Rogue balloons shot down in the US were not Chinese spy devices, says Biden (video) | News by Thaiger

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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