Joe Biden was criticized for waiting to shoot down a Chinese hot air balloon
Republican US lawmakers on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden for waiting days to shoot down a hot air balloon suspected of Chinese spying as it flew over the United States, alleging he proved weak to China and initially tried to keep the incursion into US airspace under wraps.
A US Air Force fighter jet shot down a hot air balloon on Saturday off the coast of South Carolina, a week after it first entered US airspace near Alaska, sparking a story. Dramatic espionage further strained US-China relations.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday said the US military could gather “valuable” intelligence by studying hot air balloons and three other Chinese surveillance balloons that passed over the United States. United States under the Donald Trump administration – a revelation that the former Republican president denies.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: “We should have shot down this balloon over the Aleutian Islands. We should never have allowed it. across the entire continental United States”. that arc off the coast of mainland Alaska.
Cotton told “Fox News Sunday” that he believes Biden waited to reveal the intrusion into U.S. airspace because he wanted to save Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned diplomatic trip to North America. Kinh, which was eventually postponed.
“I think it’s partly down to the president’s reluctance to take any action that is seen as provocative or confrontational with the Chinese communists,” Cotton added.
Joe Biden said Saturday he ordered the balloon to be lowered on Wednesday after it entered Montana, but the Pentagon has recommended waiting until it can be done over the high seas for protection civilians from debris falling to Earth from nearly twice the height of commercial air traffic.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said of Republican criticism: “they’re premature and they’re political.”
The Department of Defense will next week report to the Senate on suspected Chinese spy balloons and Chinese surveillance, Schumer said at a news conference on Sunday.
Nuclear missile site
Republican Representative Mike Turner, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the panel was also set to receive a briefing on spy balloons this week, though the exact time is not yet determined.
Mr Turner said the balloon was moving freely over sensitive US nuclear missile sites and he believed China was using it “to gather information on how to defeat command and control”. our nuclear weapons systems and missile defense systems.”
“The president has allowed this to slip through our most sensitive sites and won’t even tell the American public if you don’t release the story,” Turner told the “Meet the Press” program. of NBC. “There was no attempt to inform Congress, no attempt to assemble the Gang of Eight (a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.) I think this administration lacks urgency.”
Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC News’ “This Week” program that he would ask administration officials about future preparations to prevent the spread of the virus. try like that.
Rubio also said China was trying to send a message that it could enter US airspace, adding that he doubted that the balloon’s debris would have much intelligence value.
Donald Trump on Sunday denied Austin’s claim that Chinese government surveillance balloons briefly crossed the US mainland three times during his presidency.
“China has so much respect for ‘TRUMP’ that this happened, and it NEVER happened,” Donald Trump wrote on social media.
Speaking on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, also denied such ballooning incidents.
China on Sunday condemned the US action on what Beijing called a balloon used for other scientific and meteorological purposes that strayed into US airspace “completely unintentionally”. – claims denied by US officials.
“China has clearly asked the US to resolve this matter calmly, professionally and with restraint,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “The US has insisted on the use of force, clearly overreacting.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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