Biden on Chinese balloon: 'We’re going to take care of it'

Last updated on February 4, 2023

President Joe Biden on Saturday broke his public silence on the suspected Chinese spy balloon drifting across the U.S., telling reporters “we’re going to take care of it.”

Biden’s comments in Syracuse, N.Y., come as the balloon is hovering over North Carolina, according to local news reports. It was first spotted in Montana on Wednesday.

China has denied that it was using the balloon to spy on the U.S., saying it was a civilian airship used to monitor weather that blew off course due to unexpected wind. The Pentagon has so far cautioned against shooting the balloon down out of fears falling debris could hurt people on the ground.

“Last thing we wanted was for something the size of a school bus to go through the roof of a preschool,” a Defense Department official said Friday.

The Chinese airship forced the U.S. military to scramble fighter jets and led Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his trip to Beijing this weekend.

Throughout the week lawmakers have called on Biden to address the potential threat, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who chairs the panel that oversees the Pentagon’s budget, calling the balloon a “clear threat” to national security.

“I’m demanding answers from the Biden Administration,” Tester said in a statement. “I will be pulling people before my committee to get real answers on how this happened, and how we can prevent it from ever happening again.”

Adam Cancryn contributed to this report.