US President Joe Biden said Tuesday he is open to working with China, seeking “competition, not conflict,” but that Washington will take action if its national security is threatened by Beijing.
For the past week, a Chinese balloon, shot down over the weekend, dazzled US politics and intelligence officials who alleged that the balloon was used for surveillance. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that it was only a civilian balloon used for meteorological research.
Biden warned in his State of the Union address that if China threatened the nation, his administration will respond accordingly.
“Make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country,” Biden vowed to the US public.
“Don’t bet against America,” he underscored, which prompted a chorus of “USA” chants. “It has never been a good bet to bet against America.”
The US president stated that “winning the competition with China” should unite Americans and that the US is in the strongest position to compete with Beijing or “anyone else in the world.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng on Monday reiterated that the downing was harmful to US-Chinese relations.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that “China… never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country,” adding that “some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China.”
In light of the balloon shoot-down and China’s response of possible retaliation, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, John Kirby, assured that no reason exists to escalate tensions between the US and China over the balloon and that Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China “was postponed, it was not canceled,”