Biden Warning: America Will Take Action If China ‘Threatens Its National Sovereignty’

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Mr. Biden, during his State of the Union address to Congress last Tuesday night, recalled his promise to work with the Chinese government

US President Joe Biden announced that his country will take “action” if it considers that China “threatens” its “national sovereignty”, against the background of the further deterioration in recent days of relations between Washington and Beijing, due to of a Chinese balloon overflying US territory, which was eventually shot down.

Mr. Biden, during his State of the Union address to Congress last Tuesday night (local time• in the early hours of this morning Greece time), recalled his promise to cooperate with the Chinese government in areas where he deems that this serves “US interests” and “is beneficial to the rest of the world”.

“But make no mistake: as we made very clear last week, if China threatens our national sovereignty, we will take action to protect our country. And we did it,” he added.

On Sunday, US authorities announced that a fighter jet shot down a Chinese balloon, which it described as a spy, after several days of flying at high altitude over areas of US territory. The downing by a fighter jet took place over the Atlantic Ocean, off South Carolina. US authorities made it clear that they meant to recover the wreckage and were not going to return his equipment to the Chinese side.
China, for its part, countered that the balloon was scientific, collecting meteorological data, found itself over the US because it deviated from its course and criticized the US armed forces, because they reacted to it in an “excessive” way.

Beijing on Saturday rejected a request by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fangha, a US Pentagon spokesman said hours before Joe Biden’s speech.

The US president recalled that he has pointed out to his counterpart Xi Jinping that the US seeks competition, not conflict with China.

But “I will make no apologies for investing in making America stronger. We are investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, in which the Chinese government intends to become dominant.”

The world today is faced with serious challenges, Mr. Biden emphasized, returning to his theme of the confrontation between “democracies” and “authoritarian regimes”.

“In the last two years, democracies have become stronger, not weaker. And authoritarian regimes have become weaker, not stronger,” he assured.
“(U.S.) allies are stepping up, spending more and doing more. Bridges are being built between partners in the Pacific and those in the Atlantic. And those who bet against America are learning how wrong they were,” he added. “It’s never a good idea to bet against America,” he said.

Mr Biden’s comments came after his administration’s Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who was present at the speech, canceled a visit to China.

Republicans, who took control of the House of Representatives in January after midterm elections in November, have been pushing for an even tougher line on China. They even harshly criticized President Biden for initially ordering the balloon not to be shot down, to avoid injuries and damage to the ground.

Broadly speaking, however, Republicans and Democrats are on the same page on China; this is one of the few issues where this is the case.

Mr. Biden also praised the 2022 bill with strong bipartisan support in his speech to boost investment in the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The White House has previously sought to de-escalate tensions with Beijing, which escalated when former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan over the summer. The visit sparked outrage in China and prompted it to hold the most extensive military exercises in history around the island of 23 million people, which the Chinese government has always characterized as a breakaway Chinese province destined to be reunited with the mainland in the future, by force if he needs.

Tensions in bilateral relations are likely to reach a new peak if the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, visits Taipei this year, as expected.

The US president emphasized that the US is “in the strongest position in decades to compete with China and anyone else in the world”.
The pursuit “to win the competition with China is something that should unite us all,” he added.

“For as long as needed”

After all, seven weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed members of Congress from the same floor, the US president pledged in his speech that Washington would continue to support Ukraine in its war with Russia for “whatever it takes.”

Congress has approved more than $100 billion in military and other aid to Kyiv after the Russian military invaded Ukrainian territory nearly a year ago on February 24, 2022.

“Together we did what America does when we’re at our best. We were led. We joined NATO. We built a global coalition,” according to Mr. Biden.
Some Republicans, particularly allies of former President Donald Trump, are questioning whether and whether Washington should continue the massive spending to support Ukraine, but top GOP officials expect the flow to continue and Mr. Biden’s comments on the war was cheered by parliamentarians of both parties, as well as the Ukrainian ambassador in Washington, who invited him to the podium.

However, in Mr. Biden’s 73-minute speech, foreign policy issues – comparatively – were in the background: the US president did not mention, for example, Iran, nor North Korea, nor even Monday’s devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

RES-EMP

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