White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said at a briefing on the plane during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Wisconsin on the 8th local time, “These balloons are all belonging to a unit that carries out a reconnaissance mission.”
The Washington Post reported that the recently shot down Chinese balloon was part of an extensive intelligence surveillance program operated by the People’s Liberation Army of China.
At the same time, China said that since 2018, it has conducted reconnaissance activities through balloons on all five continents, including Japan, India, Vietnam and Taiwan.
“The United States is in contact with allies and partners on this matter,” spokesman Jean-Pierre said, adding that “further investigations are being conducted by the State Department.”
“President Biden has maintained a very clear stance on his approach to China,” he added, “while maintaining a strategic competitive relationship with China, he does not want any escalation of the conflict.”
Regarding China’s response, “China did not respond.”
In his State of the Union address, President Biden sent a strong warning message targeting China’s reconnaissance balloon, saying, “If China threatens the sovereignty of the United States, the United States will act to protect the country.”