President Joe Biden said Wednesday that 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.
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.”
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.