On Saturday (June 17), President Joe Biden claimed that the Chinese spy balloon that drifted across the United States and caused a significant international incident was “more embarrassing” for the communist regime “than it was intentional.”
The President also expressed his hope to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping about how the United States and Beijing can “get along.”
Biden was asked if Secretary of State Antony Blinken could ease tensions with China as part of his trip.
In response, Biden raised a question about the balloon that flew over the United States in February until it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
“China has some legitimate difficulties,” not related to the United States, Biden insisted, referencing the balloon as an example, saying that he didn’t “think the leadership knew where it was” or what was in the balloon, “and what was going on.”
“I think it was more embarrassing than it was intentional,” Biden suggested.
The incident drew harsh criticism from Congressional Republicans who said it should have been shot down much earlier and prompted Blinken to postpone a planned trip to China.
The administration cited security concerns related to firing a heavy object in populated areas.
An NBC News report in April claimed that the spy balloon had the capacity to gather intelligence on several sensitive US military targets. The Pentagon later said it could not confirm whether that data was sent in real-time.
The Chinese said the balloon’s movements were random. This week, more than a dozen Republican senators wrote to President Biden, complaining that the administration has yet to provide a public explanation for the spy balloon incident, which it described as a “flagrant violation of American sovereignty.”