Biden wanted the balloon downed on Wednesday but was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said.
Military officials determined that bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground, according to AP.
The presence of the balloon in the skies above the U.S. this week dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years. It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing tensions.
“They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” Biden said after getting off Air Force One en route to Camp David.