The White House on Feb. 3 said it was “keeping all options on the table” in relation to a Chinese spy balloon traveling across the United States.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was briefed on the balloon flight on Tuesday, and a senior defense official previously said it was the “strong recommendation” of military leadership not to shoot down the balloon “because of risk to safety and security of the people on the ground.”
“The president will always put the safety and security of the American people first,” Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday. “We are tracking closely and keeping all options on the table.”
The U.S. military is currently tracking the spy balloon which is currently in the center of the country hovering eastward, and the administration has canceled a planned trip of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing this weekend in response.
At a news conference with South Korea’s visiting foreign minister later on Friday, Blinken said he had told Wang Yi, director of China’s Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, that the incident on the eve of his trip was an “irresponsible act” by China, but Washington remained committed to engagement and he would visit when conditions allowed.
“[China’s] decision to take this action on the eve of my planned visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were prepared to have,” he said.
Read more: White House Says Its ‘Keeping All Options on the Table’ in Response to Chinese Spy Balloon