- US President Joe Biden said he is ready to work with China in his State of Union address
- In retaliation, China has refused Pentagon's request for high-profile talks between the two nations
YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — US President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address in the joint session of the US Congress on February 7.
Everyone waited to hear what Biden had to say about China. His remarks came balanced and calculated, clarifying that he is “committed to working with China” but warned of consequences if Beijing does not reciprocate.
The annual presidential speech at Capitol Hill touched on a series of subjects. First, Biden went to great lengths to highlight his administration’s achievements. But he also spoke of the various challenges that the country faces. For example, Xi Jinping’s China remains a major threat to US’s interests.
Biden confirmed that he has clarified to his Chinese counterpart that the US seeks competition with it, not conflict. At the same time, his administration has modernized the country’s military to face any potential threat from Beijing.
Be Careful, Joe Biden Tells China
Making a strong case for his administration’s achievements, Biden claimed the US is “in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world.”
“I’m committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world. 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,”the President said
Biden was referring to last week’s incident when he ordered the US Airforce to shoot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon seen in American airspace. China threatened retaliation following the incident.
Republican opponents, unhappy with the President’s relatively soft stance, heckled him constantly during his address. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was visibly uneasy sitting behind Biden. He could be seen asking his team members to behave.
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China Requests to Return Spy Balloon Debris
After the United States air force successfully downed the Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina, the military conducted intensive search operations to find the debris.
While the recovery was successful, it further strained the already tense US-Chinese relations. As a result, Beijing requested Washington to return the remains of the balloon to it. However, for obvious reasons, the Biden Administration is not inclined to do so.
US intelligence teams will work to extract any information they can to determine if the alleged spy balloon has gathered any sensitive information that could pose a national security threat.
China had called the US decision to shoot down the balloon a “clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice” while saying it reserved the right to “make further responses if necessary.”
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby has now claimed no plans to return the debris to China.
“I know of no such intention of plans to return it,”Kirby clarified to reporters when asked if the US would return any parts of the balloon to Beijing, according to the Financial Times.
China Turns Down Pentagon’s Request to Talk
Angered at President Joe Biden’s actions, China is taking the fight to Washington. Beijing has now declined a request for a phone call between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
According to reports, the Pentagon submitted the request for a private call immediately after it downed the spy balloon. But the incident had already damaged Sino-US relations beyond immediate repair.
“Unfortunately, the PRC (China) has declined our request. Our commitment to open lines of communication will continue,”Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his scheduled trip to Beijing after the Pentagon spotted the Chinese balloon in US airspace. Wounded, Xi Jinping has got the perfect opportunity to return the insult.
While Joe Biden may have tried to underplay the Chinese threat in his State of the Union address, the tension between the two superpowers is out in the open.