Biden promises to protect US in State of the Union address, mentions Chinese balloon

US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he would work with China, the main rival power, but promised to “protect our country,” a reference to an alleged Chinese spy balloon that has flew over the United States. week.

“I am committed to working with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world,” Biden said. “But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we have.”

Beijing has denied that the balloon was a spy device.

Biden was expected to face competition from China, but his speechwriters reportedly added that remark after the balloon soared in the skies above the United States – dominating the news – before a US fighter jet slammed into the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who sat with other cabinet members in the House of Representatives as Biden spoke, canceled a planned trip to Beijing amid the turmoil.

Republicans have seized on the balloon incident to attack Biden’s decision, based on military advice, not to shoot it down sooner for fear that the debris could harm people on the ground.

Republicans, who took control of the House of Representatives last month, have insisted on a hard line in negotiations with Beijing, but that is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided US Congress.

Biden mentioned legislation passed last year with strong support from Democrats and Republicans that boosted the US semiconductor industry and promised more.

“I will not apologize that we are investing to make America strong. By investing in American innovation, in the industries that will define the future, that China intends to dominate,” Biden said.

When asked about Biden’s remarks on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said, “The Chinese side has always believed that Sino-US relations are not a zero-sum game where you lose and I win, you you get up and I fall”.

“China neither avoids nor fears competition, but we oppose the use of competition to define the entire China-US relationship,” said Mao Ning.

Democrats have joined Republicans in asking for more information on football and the Biden administration’s policy towards the Beijing government.

The White House has taken a different approach, seeking to ease tensions with China, which exacerbated in August when then-House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, visited Taiwan.

Pelosi’s visit prompted Beijing to hold military exercises near the Chinese-claimed island. Tensions could rise again if the new Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, visits Taiwan, as he is expected to do this year.

Seven weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed lawmakers from the same podium, Biden also denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and touched on US support for the Kiev government.

Congress has approved more than $100 billion in aid and military assistance to Ukraine and partner nations since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“Together we did what America always does best. We led. We joined NATO. We built a global coalition,” Biden said, pledging to stay with Ukraine “for as long as necessary.”

Source: Terra