The chief representative for the Biden administration claimed last weekend that China made no apologies for the surveillance balloon that had flown across a significant portion of the United States.
After meeting with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, on Saturday at the annual Munich Security Conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed in an interview with Chuck Todd.
At the “Meet the press” segment, Todd asked Blinken: “…I have read the readout we have stated about what you said to him, I guess what I’m more concerned about is what did he say to you? Number one, did it begin with an apology for the balloon?”
Secretary Blinken answered:
Chuck, I don’t want to characterize what, what he said. I don’t think that would be appropriate. Although I can tell you, no, there was no apology. But what I can also tell you is this was an opportunity to speak very clearly and very directly about the fact that China sent a surveillance balloon over our territory, violating our sovereignty, violating international law. And, I told him quite simply that that was unacceptable and can never happen again. We’re, of course, not the only ones on the receiving end of these surveillance balloons. More than forty countries have had these balloons fly over them in recent years, and that’s been exposed to the world. I also had an opportunity, because we’re here in Munich, as you know, focused primarily on Russia’s ongoing aggression against —
A little more than two weeks ago, the high-flying balloon was shot down by the U.S. Air Force off the coast of South Carolina, but not before it had flown over critical military locations and a large portion of the U.S. from Montana to the southeast coast.
According to US officials, the military held off on bringing the balloon down until it was over the Atlantic Ocean because falling debris presented a risk to anyone below. They said that measures had been made to stop China from acquiring important intelligence.
China asserts that the balloon was mostly a civilian weather balloon that had been blown off course, and it accused the United States of acting excessively by shooting it down.
China imposed penalties on two significant U.S. defense contractors after the U.S. blacklisted six Chinese firms linked to Beijing’s military aerospace projects as retribution.
Although it’s unclear who asked him to apologize, President Joe Biden stated at a speech on Thursday that he made “no apologies” for shooting the missile down but stressed that the United States is not pursuing a “new Cold War” with China.
Blinken said that he warned his Chinese colleague that the balloon incident was “unacceptable and can never happen again,” echoing Biden’s position.
This week, the American military finished removing the balloon’s wreckage. The debris was being sent to an FBI lab in Virginia for “counterintelligence exploitation,” according to U.S. Northern Command.
A strangely late shootdown
The alleged Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina was monitored from the moment it took off, according to several news outlets and reports.
The New York Times revealed that, earlier than previously believed, U.S. monitors observed as the aircraft took off from Hainan Island in China’s south coast in late January, about a week before it reached U.S. territory. U.S. intelligence watched the balloon as it moved east toward Guam, according to updates by The Washington Post and CBS News, but it abruptly diverted north toward Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
Several social media users & political commentators criticized the Biden administration for its lack of transparency and the late response regarding the Chinese spy balloon:
Officials claim that throughout the course of the weekend, three unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were blasted out of the sky over North America by American jets: one on Friday over Alaska, one on Saturday over Canada, and one on Sunday over Lake Huron.
President Biden ultimately stated that the objects were not part of spying operations from foreign countries but essentially private property from citizens and NGOs.
Independent Writer. Marketing and communications strategist for politicians, artists, public figures & corporate brands for more than 10 years. Contact: @alejandrosbasso (Twitter)
Escritor independiente. Consultor en marketing y comunicaciones de políticos, artistas, figuras públicas y marcas por más de 10 años. Contacto: @alejandrosbasso (Twitter)