April 24, 2024

President Joe Biden starkly warned he will protect America against Chinese threats to its sovereignty and singled out President Xi Jinping – a striking escalation of a suspected spy balloon showdown during his State of the Union address.

Biden called out Beijing on Tuesday before millions of viewers in the US and around the world as diplomatic tensions with China soar and new details emerge of an expansive Chinese balloon surveillance program.

In the highly symbolic choreography of the US-Chinese relationship, Biden’s statements were unusually direct and raise questions about how Beijing will respond, even if his tone spoke to a charged domestic political context as Republicans complain he was too slow to shoot down the balloon.

Biden said in his speech in the House of Representatives that he had told Xi that Washington seeks “competition, not conflict.” But he also said that US investments in its alliances, military and advanced technologies meant that America was now in its strongest position in decades to compete with China and defend its interests.

“Make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” Biden said, referring to the moment Saturday when a US jet fired a missile that burst the balloon off the US east coast, after it had spent days wafting across the continental US and Canada.

Biden’s comments were in a theatrical setting and were partly designed to create political cover. But a president warning China not to infringe US sovereignty was still a remarkable moment that underlined a grave geopolitical shift.

Source: CNN,

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