As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to rise, a Chinese surveillance balloon has been spotted flying over the northern U.S., prompting outrage from Republican lawmakers. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has called for a briefing for the Gang of Eight, while former President Trump has called to “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON.” The Pentagon has identified the aircraft as a “high altitude surveillance balloon” and said it would not shoot it down because falling debris would pose a risk to people on the ground. China has denied the balloon was collecting sensitive information and said it was a civilian research ship studying weather that blew off course.
The recent sighting of the Chinese surveillance balloon has sparked a debate about how the Biden administration is handling national security. Republicans have accused President Biden of failing to protect U.S. sovereignty, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a trip to Beijing to meet with his counterpart next week. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) fired off an angry letter to the Pentagon on Thursday night, while other Republican lawmakers have tied the balloon’s entry into U.S. airspace to the issues plaguing the southern border.
The Defense Department has maintained that the balloon posed no military or physical threat and was not collecting sensitive information. However, the incident has raised questions about how the U.S. should respond to similar situations in the future and how to ensure the safety of U.S. airspace. It is clear that the Biden administration needs to come up with a plan to protect the nation from potential threats and reassure the public that their security is a priority.