OAN’s Roy Francis
2:22 PM – Saturday, June 17, 2023
President Joe Biden claimed that the Chinese spy balloon that had flown across the United States at the end of January, causing a major international incident and backlash, was “more embarrassing than it was intentional” by China.
On Saturday, Biden was asked about Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China and whether tensions will ease as a result. The President responded by talking about the spy balloon.
“China has some legitimate difficulties unrelated to the United States,” he said. “And I think one of the things that balloon caused was not so much that it got shot down, but I don’t think the leadership knew where it was, knew what it was in it and what was going on. I think It was more embarrassing than it was intentional.”
According to NBC News, the spy balloon had flown over several sensitive military sites and bases and was able to gather intelligence before it was shot down. The Pentagon had said that it could not confirm if the information was transferred from the balloon and if so, how much.
The incident had led to criticism of the Biden administration by the public and by Republicans who said that the balloon should not have been allowed into U.S. airspace and should have been shot down much earlier.
The administration defended its actions by expressing concerns about shooting the balloon down while it was flying over populated areas. However, many have pointed out that there was opportunity for the balloon to be shot down before it reached the U.S. or while it was flying over unpopulated areas.
Blinken was also forced to postpone his trip to China due to the spy balloon incident. China had said that the balloon was a weather instrument and that its flight path was accidental.
Republicans recently wrote to the President demanding answers about the incident, since none have been given so far.
“While four months have passed since a Chinese surveillance balloon was allowed to fly across the United States,” Republicans wrote. “Your administration has yet to provide the American people a full accounting of how this spy platform was allowed to traverse across sovereign U.S. territory, what the balloon carried, and what it collected during its mission.”
The President said that he hopes to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping again and discuss cooperation between the two nations.
“I’m hoping over the next several months,” he said. “I’ll be meeting with Xi again and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how there are areas we can get along.”
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