Joe Biden brags to SOTU about China’s spy balloon response after letting it fly across the country

CLAIM: President Joe Biden told Congress during his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday that his administration’s response to the invasion of a Chinese surveillance balloon proves that “we will act to protect our country – and we did it”.

VERDICT: ESPECIALLY FALSE. Biden approved shooting down the balloon — an unmanned craft apparently equipped with advanced surveillance technology that China says was for exclusively “weather-related” purposes — on Saturday, but only after allowing it to traverse nearly all of the world. country.

Late in his speech on Tuesday, Biden addressed the growing national security threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to America. China routinely engages in a variety of espionage activities – from stealing intellectual property to infiltrating US universities and the military. Biden claimed he had stopped China’s runaway rise and the United States’ decline.

“Before I came to power, history was about how the People’s Republic of China was rising in power and America was falling in the world. No more. … I have made it clear in my personal conversations, which have been many, with President Xi Jinping that we seek competition, not conflict,” Biden said. “But I won’t apologize for investing in making America stronger. Invest in American innovation, in industries that will define the future that China intends to dominate.

“Today we are in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world,” he continued. “I am committed to working with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world.”

Biden did not explicitly mention the Chinese balloon incident, but alluded to it as a message to China that his administration would not tolerate sovereignty violations.

But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did it,” Biden said.

The Chinese balloon controversy erupted Thursday night when alarmed spectators in Montana began sharing videos and photos on social media of what appeared to be a giant white ball in the sky. The Pentagon clarified shortly after that it appeared to be a ship originating from China and would not take action to destroy it for fear that falling debris would strike and injure people on the ground.

Public knowledge of the ship, which the Pentagon confirmed was a “surveillance balloon,” prompted immediate outraged calls for Biden to order it to be fired from the sky, particularly at in light of the fact that Montana is home to some of the most sensitive nuclear power plants in the country. weapon slots. Authorities in the United States and Canada later confirmed that the balloon apparently entered America through Alaska and traveled across Canada before entering Montana.

The Department of Defense estimated later Friday that the balloon would remain “a few days” illegally in American airspace. As public pressure mounted, Biden finally approved the use of an F-22 fighter jet to shoot down the balloon in waters off South Carolina on Saturday, accelerating the originally proposed timeline.

Bloomberg News reported on Saturday that the Biden administration was “well aware” of the Chinese balloon entering U.S. airspace as early as Jan. 28, but chose not to make that information public. The administration only confirmed the presence of the invading aircraft after civilians in Montana saw and reported the balloon above their state’s skies.

A poll released Tuesday by the Trafalgar Group and the Convention of States Project found that 63.4% of Americans consider the balloon situation to be “mishandled” under Biden.

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