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Biden on Chinese spy balloon: 'It was more embarrassing than it was intentional'

President Biden said on Saturday that a Chinese spy balloon that spent a week hovering over the U.S. in early February was “more embarrassing” for Beijing “than it was intentional.”

“I don’t think the leadership knew where it was and knew what was in it and knew what was going on,” the president told reporters before heading to Philadelphia. “It was, I think it was more embarrassing than it was intentional.”

“And so, I’m hoping that, over the next several months, I’ll be meeting with [Chinese leader] Xi [Jinping] again and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how there’s areas we can get along,” he added.

Antony Blinken landed in China on Sunday, becoming the first secretary of state to visit the country in five years, according to The New York Times. He is set to meet with his counterpart, Qin Gang. 

His trip was initially planned for February but was postponed due to the spy balloon incident. The high-altitude balloon spent several days floating over the continental U.S., before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by the military.

The decision to shoot down the balloon earned a sharp rebuke from Beijing, which vowed at the time to take “countermeasures in accordance with the law against the relevant U.S. entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security.” 

Republican senators have also called on the Biden administration to produce a “public accounting” of his administration’s assessment of the Chinese spy balloon and expressed frustration with the administration’s alleged “failure to confront China’s brazen threats to America’s security and sovereignty.”   

Source: The Hill

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