The decision was based on recommendations from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, and the Commander of Northern Command. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the balloon "does not present a military or physical threat" to people on the ground.
Biden Says US Security Is First
White House officials emphasized that President Biden prioritizes the American people's safety and security. He continues to be regularly updated on the situation. The People's Republic of China confirmed that the balloon detected over Montana is Chinese and claimed it was a civilian meteorological research craft that went off course.
Blinken's Trip to Beijing Postponed Indefinitely
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to travel to Beijing this week for a meeting with Chinese President Xi, but the trip was postponed indefinitely. The White House official stated that it was not appropriate to travel to China at this time, and the President agreed with the Secretary's decision. The President's national security team has communicated directly with the Chinese government on multiple levels regarding the clear violation of sovereignty and international law.