On February 4, President Joe Biden said he had ordered the military to shoot down the hot air balloon “as soon as possible” from February 1.
Slow to fire hot air balloons ‘for people’s safety’
However, national security officials said that “the best time to shoot it down is when it is on the water”, because shooting it down on land poses many safety risks.
Similarly, a White House official said President Joe Biden and his military advisers had taken “responsible actions”. They had to wait for the Chinese hot air balloon to fly over the sea before shooting it down to minimize the risk it might pose to people on land.
According to CNN, Biden told reporters that he initially asked the Defense Department to shoot down the spy balloon 1-2, but ultimately agreed with the military’s assessment that it was shot down on land. could put American lives in jeopardy. Therefore the shooting down should take place over the open sea.
“The President agreed and directed them to fire the balloon safely over the sea as soon as possible. As a result, they planned to shoot down the balloon while it was at sea, in territorial airspace. of the United States,” a White House official told CNN.
According to this official, this is a responsible action that the head of a country must take.
“He prioritized the safety of the American people and ensured that the military would take steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of sensitive information, minimizing any intelligence value that could not be obtained. In the process, we still track the balloon and have information about it,” the White House official said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed support after the US shot down a Chinese hot air balloon.
“Today (February 4), the United States shot down a Chinese high-altitude reconnaissance balloon that violated the airspace of the United States and Canada and violated international law. Canada strongly supports the US action and we I will continue to work together on security and defence,” Trudeau said.
‘The government must explain because it’s too slow’
However, President Biden still faces a lot of criticism, mostly from the Republican Party. Many previous comments from congressmen, officials and citizens had asked the Biden administration to shoot down the balloon immediately, but this was not done.
They argued that Mr. Biden was soft on China and that the balloon should have been shot down sooner, since it entered US airspace on January 28. Republicans in both the House and Senate called the incident a display of “weakness” and demanded an explanation from the administration.
Republican Representative Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter: “Will (former president) Trump let Chinese spy balloons fly into our airspace? Or (former presidents) Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Truman Did you let this happen? No, no, no and no. So why would President Biden let China do this?”
Mr. Jordan continued to lash out at Biden with another tweet: “President Trump secures America’s borders. President Biden brings us chaos. President Trump builds a prosperous economy. President Biden gave us record inflation. President Trump was tough on China. President Biden let them drop spy balloons over our country.”
Nikki Haley, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, tweeted that Mr Biden was weak.
“China would never let a spy balloon fly into their airspace. No strong leader would allow that. And now it’s flying towards South Carolina. Grab it. this hot air balloon. Check what it collects. Hold President Xi Jinping accountable. We need to take back American power,” Haley wrote.
In general on Twitter, the harsh comments about the delay in shooting down the hot air balloon are somewhat prominent.