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HomeMarketBiden Says UFOs Likely Privately Owned, Not Spying

Biden Says UFOs Likely Privately Owned, Not Spying

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President Joe Biden said Thursday the three unidentified aerial objects detected over North American airspace last weekend were likely privately owned and intended for research or recreation, but were shot down because of their potential threat to aviation.

“We don’t yet know exactly what these objects were,” Biden said in a speech Thursday afternoon. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have spent days demanding more information about the incidents and criticizing the administration’s actions.

“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,” he said.

The objects don’t appear to be connected to a Chinese or another power’s surveillance balloon program, Biden added. A Chinese spy balloon detected by U.S. officials in early February, but not destroyed by the military until after it transversed the continental U.S. for days, sparked a new debate about security.

Biden said he wouldn’t apologize for ordering the military to shoot the three objects down, either. “If any object poses a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down.”

The president also said there’s no evidence that there are more objects in the sky than before, but said that the U.S. is improving its procedures for tracking, identifying, and responding to them. He outlined plans to better monitor and identify uncrewed objects to keep American airspace safer and more secure.

Biden said he spoke on Saturday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who agreed with the decision to shoot down the object over Canada. The other objects were shot down over remote Alaskan waters and over Lake Huron.

Regarding the suspected Chinese spy balloon, Biden said he expects to speak with China’s President Xi Jinping, but didn’t provide details about how or when.

“We seek competition, not conflict with China,” Biden said. “We’re not looking for a new Cold War.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to attend the Munich Security Conference this weekend, where top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi is also expected to be in attendance, raising the possibility that the two could meet. It would be their first face-to-face meeting since the Chinese balloon was shot down Feb. 4.

Write to Janet H. Cho at janet.cho@dowjones.com 

Credit: marketwatch.com

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