President Joe Biden has said the United States is “not looking for conflict” with China despite tensions over the shooting down of what US officials say was a Chinese spy balloon.
“We’re going to compete fully with China, but… we’re not looking for conflict — and that’s been the case so far,” he said in an interview with the PBS network on Wednesday.
Biden’s comments apparently sought to defuse tensions over the dramatic incident in which a huge Chinese balloon traversed much of the United States before being shot down by a US Air Force jet just off the east coast on Saturday.
Asked if the incident had caused major damage to the relationship with Beijing, Biden said “no.”
“I talk to them. I’ve talked to Xi Jinping before, and our team talks to their people,” Biden said.
China insists the balloon was merely conducting weather research but the Pentagon described it as a high-tech spying operation.
The balloon floated at an altitude far higher than most airplanes and crossed directly over at least one sensitive US military site.
No fear of competition, China tells US
Earlier on Wednesday China said Beijing would not avoid or fear competition with US.
During a regular press briefing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing, however, opposes using it [competition] to define China-US relations, contain China’s legitimate development rights, and harm global industrial and supply chain.
China will deal with China-US relations based on mutual respect, peaceful co-existence, and win-win cooperation while defending its sovereignty, safety, and interests, Global Times quoted Mao as saying.