During a Politico interview released on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that the Biden administration’s decision to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon over American waters would not worsen the United States’ relations with China.
Harris’ comments came after China suggested it would respond aggressively to its spy balloon being shot down.
“I don’t think so, no,” Harris said when asked if the spy balloon being shot down would have an impact on diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Everything that has happened in the last week and a half is, we believe, very consistent with our stated approach,” she added.
President Biden made similar comments during an interview with PBS’s Judy Woodruff last week, saying that his decision to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon had not been a “big hit” to U.S.-China relations and laughed at the idea that shooting down the balloon had made relations “worse.”
“How do you know?” Woodruff asked.
“I know, I talked to him… I talked to Xi Jinping before, our team talks to their people,” Biden said.
“During this? Since?” Woodruff asked.
“I haven’t talked to him during this… But look, I mean — ha ha ha, the idea of shooting down a balloon that’s gathering information over America, that makes relations worse?” Biden responded
“Look, I made it real clear to Xi Jinping that we’re going to compete fully with China, but we’re not looking for conflict and that has been the case so far,” Biden added.
A few days before Biden’s interview, the Chinese government threatened to “respond further” to the United States’ use of “armed force” in shooting down their spy balloon.
“For the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement obtained by the New York Times. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”