China committed such a brazen act of floating balloons across continental America because they are the Chinese government, US President Joe Biden said on Monday.
“They’re the Chinese government,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked why the Chinese would commit such a brazen act of floating across the entire continental United States.
“The question of the balloon and attempting to spy on the United States is something that’s anticipated from China. The question is whether or not -- when we asked China what they’re doing, they didn’t deny they had the balloon over -- they just denied what it was,” Biden said in response to a question.
“It is not a question of trusting China, it’s a question of deciding where we should work together and where we have opposition,” said the president in response to another question as he landed on the South Lawns of the White House from Camp David.
Biden said this is not going to weaken the US-China relationship. “No. We’ve made it clear to China what we’re going to do. They understand our position. We’re not going to back off. We did the right thing. And there’s not a question of weakening or strengthening; it’s just the reality,” he said.
The president said that it was always his position to shoot down the balloon.
“It was always my position. Once it came into the United States from Canada, I told the Defence Department I wanted to shoot it down as soon as it was appropriate. They concluded, we should not shoot it down over land, it was not a serious threat, and we should wait until it got across the water,” Biden said.