CLAIM: President Joe Biden told Congress during his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday that his administration’s response to an invading Chinese surveillance balloon proved “we will act to protect our country – and we did.”
VerdictMOSTLY FALSE. Biden approved shooting down the balloon – an unmanned vessel apparently equipped with advanced surveillance technology that China claimed was for exclusively “meteorological” purposes – on Saturday, but only after allowing it to cross nearly the entire country.
Biden spoke late Tuesday night about the increasing national security risk that China’s Communist Party poses to America. China regularly engages in a variety of espionage activities – from intellectual property theft to infiltration of American academia and the military. Biden said that he stopped China’s unchecked growth and the decline of the United States.
“Before I came to office, the story was about how the People’s Republic of China was increasing its power and America was falling in the world. Not anymore. … I made clear in my personal conversations, which have been many, with President Xi Jinping that we seek competition, not conflict,” Biden claimed. “But I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America stronger. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future that China intends to be dominating.”
“Today, we’re in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world,”He went on. “I am committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world.”
Biden mentioned the Chinese balloon incident but did not mention it explicitly. However, he used this to send a message that his administration will not tolerate sovereignty violations.
“But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” Biden claimed.
On Thursday, alarmed Montanans started sharing photos and videos via social media that showed what looked like a large white balloon in the sky. Soon after, the Pentagon stated that it was a Chinese vessel and would not destroy it due to concerns about falling debris hitting and injuring people.
The Pentagon confirmed that the ship was known to the public. “surveillance balloon,” prompted immediate outraged calls for Biden to order it shot out of the sky, particularly in light of the fact that Montana is home to some of the country’s most sensitive nuclear weapons sites. Later, authorities in Canada and the United States confirmed that the balloon had entered America via Alaska. It then traveled across Canada and reached Montana.
On Friday night, the Department of Defense said that the balloon could remain in place for as long as it needed. “few days”Illegally entering American airspace After mounting public pressure, Biden eventually approved that an F-22 fighter aircraft be used to lower the balloon in South Carolina waters on Saturday. It also expedited the previously stated timeline.
Bloomberg News reported on Saturday that Biden’s administration was “well aware”The Chinese balloon entered the U.S. airspace in January 28th, but they chose to not make this information public. After civilians from Montana saw the Chinese balloon and reported it to the government, the administration confirmed that the aircraft was indeed present.
The poll, conducted by Trafalgar Group & Convention of States Project on Tuesday, found 63.4 per cent of Americans considered that the balloon situation was unacceptable. “mishandled” under Biden.
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