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"Chinese Humiliated, Caught Lying": Top US Senator On Balloon Incident

"Chinese Humiliated, Caught Lying": Top US Senator On Balloon Incident

The top Senator, however, urged the Biden administration to have a continued relationship with Beijing.
A top American Senator on Sunday blasted China in the wake of the US shooting down a suspected surveillance balloon, saying Beijing was "humiliated" and "caught lying" after the incident.

A US F-22 fighter jet on Saturday shot down an unidentified cylindrical object over Canada, a day after another similar object was downed near Alaskan waters, and a week after the American military brought down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast.

"I think the Chinese were humiliated. They were caught lying, and it is a step back for them," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on ABC "This Week" programme.

The top Senator, however, urged the Biden administration to have a continued relationship with Beijing.

"We can't just have a Cold War with them. We have to have a relationship with them. But China has taken advantage of us over and over and over again. And this administration has been just about tougher than any other," Schumer added.

The Pentagon said the object that was shot down on Saturday over Yukon territory in north-west Canada, was first observed in Alaska the night before, and military officials closely tracked it.

The decision to shoot down the object was taken following a phone call between US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, the White House said.

Saturday's incident follows the downing of another unidentified object on Friday over Alaska and the shooting down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on February 4, by a US F-22 fighter jet.

In another interview with CNN, Republican Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the recent episodes have underscored Washington's need to have adequate radar systems.

"We certainly don't have an integrated missile defence system. We're going to have to begin to look at the United States' airspace as one that we need to defend and that we need to have appropriate sensors to do so," he said.

"This shows some of the problems and gaps that we have. We need to fill those as soon as possible because we certainly now ascertain there is a threat," Turner said.

The US now needs to declare that it will defend its airspace, which, of course, is going to be difficult for an administration that has difficulty controlling the ground sovereignty to declare air sovereignty, he observed.

"But we need to do so," he noted.

Turner said it's certainly a new, recent development that the Chinese are being so aggressive in entering other countries' airspace, and doing so for clear intentions to spy with sophisticated equipment.

"The very scale of this balloon and of the technology that was deployed by China in spying on the US is unprecedented. No other nation has anything like it and no other nation has attempted it," Turner said.

"But certainly, there are things at times that come and go from our airspace that we track, that we try to determine if it's going to be a threat that doesn't rise to the level of the very large, sophisticated Chinese spy balloon," Turner added.

China has denied the balloon -- which first entered US airspace on January 28 -- was used for spying purposes, saying it was a weather device gone astray.

The US, however, said the balloon is part of a fleet of surveillance balloons that have flown over five continents.

After the first balloon incident, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a planned trip to Beijing.

Chinese officials on Friday accused the US of "political manipulation and hype".
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