Biden Downplays Beijing’s Role In Spy Balloon

President Joe Biden made comments that downplayed the intentional nature of the Chinese spy balloon shot down over the coast of South Carolina earlier this year. The president’s comment coincides with a trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The president excused the role of the top echelons of China’s government, stating that he did not “think the leadership knew where it was, and knew what was in it and knew what was going on.” 

“I think it was more embarrassing than it was intentional,” he said.

Blinken arrived in China amidst increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington, especially in the aftermath of the spy balloon that flew over the continental United States prior to its downing.

In addition, American officials previously downplayed reports that China had built a spy base in Cuba.

A state department official said that Blinken’s trip occurred after “a number of substantive, productive and candid exchanges with a number of Chinese counterparts.” 

However, a spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing told Blinken to “respect China’s concerns, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in the name of competition.”

Biden’s comments also come as a group of Republican senators wrote a letter to the White House, requesting that the administration take a more aggressive posture toward Beijing.

The senators said that Biden had not “taken appropriate steps to hold the PRC accountable for this flagrant violation of U.S. sovereignty.” 

The letter stated that Beijing had “only increased its brazen threats to our national security.” 

Furthermore, the GOP lawmakers cited a report that China blocked an earlier trip by Bliken “over concerns that the FBI will release the results of an investigation into the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon.”

“We therefore call on you to stand up to Beijing’s efforts to coerce the United States into silence on the PRC’s violation of U.S. sovereignty and to release the FBI’s findings on the PRC’s spy balloon immediately.” it continued.