THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Last week, in the immediate aftermath of the incursion by China’s high-altitude balloon, our military, through the North American Aerospace Defense Command — so-called NOR- — NORAD — closely scrutinized the — our airspace, including enhancing our radar to pick up more slow-moving objects above our country and around the world.
In doing so, they tracked three unidentified objects: one in Alaska, Canada, and over Lake Huron in the Midwest.
They acted in accordance with established parameters for determining how to deal with unidentified aerial objects in U.S. airspace.
At their recommendation, I gave the order to take down these three objects due to hazards to civilian commercial air traffic and because we could not rule out the surveillance risk of sensitive facilities.
Now, we’ll also continue to engage with China, as we have throughout the past two weeks. As I’ve said since the beginning of my administration, we seek competition, not conflict, with China. We’re not looking for a new Cold War.
Now, look, the other thing I want to point is that we are going to keep our allies and the Congress contemporaneously informed of all we know and all we learn. And I expect to be speaking with President Xi, and I hope we have a — we are going to get to the bottom of this. But I make no apologies for taking down that balloon.