US President Joe Biden admits that his country does not seek conflict with China. PHOTO/Reuters
WASHINGTON – United States of America (US) does not seek conflict with China although tensions mount over the fall scout balloon China last week in its airspace. This was disclosed by President Joe Biden to the US broadcaster PBS.
“We’re going to fully compete with China, but we’re not looking for conflict – and that’s what’s happened so far,” Biden said Wednesday (8/2/2023).
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Even so, the US president angered Beijing by saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping had “big problems”, including a “not functioning economy well”.
“This type of rhetoric from the US is extremely irresponsible and goes against basic diplomatic etiquette,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mao Ning told reporters on Thursday (9/2/2023). He also said Beijing was “extremely dissatisfied”.
The sighting of the balloon, which US officials say was part of a spy fleet spanning five continents, has caused a diplomatic row between the two countries. As a result, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his trip to Beijing.
Blinken said the suspected reconnaissance balloon was “a clear violation of our sovereignty”. Top diplomats said the US provided data to allies because it assessed finding debris.
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“We’ve shared information with dozens of countries around the world, both from Washington and through our embassies,” Blinken said.
“We did it because the United States is not the only target of this broader program, which has violated the sovereignty of nations on five continents,” he told a joint news conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
The Pentagon also said on Wednesday that the balloon was part of a program involving airships that China had operated for “several years”.
Biden, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, said his order to shoot down the balloon showed the US would not hesitate to act when necessary.
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