President Biden delivered his State of the Union address yesterday, highlighting the current state of the US economy and the country’s stance on foreign relations. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Biden stated that the US economy is better positioned to grow than any other country in the world.
The President also emphasized the existential threat posed by the climate crisis and vowed to defend US interests against China. He called for investment in the military, technology, and alliances, to tackle what is widely viewed as the biggest US competitor. President Biden expressed his commitment to working with China where it benefits American interests and the world, but warned that the US would act to protect its sovereignty if threatened.
In his speech, President Biden also touched upon his recent encounter with Chinese President Xi Jinping, stating that the competition with China should unite Americans. He emphasized that the US is investing in American innovation to compete with China’s growing dominance in certain industries.
The President’s speech also highlighted the US’s long-term support for Ukraine, but made no mention of other international issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea, the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria, or Iran.
President Biden’s State of the Union address followed a recent military incident, where a US fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that had crossed into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pentagon described the balloon as a high-altitude spying vehicle, while China claimed it was a weather observation aircraft with no military purpose. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a visit to Beijing as a result of the incident, and China declined a request for communication from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The debris from the balloon will be studied by the intelligence and law enforcement communities to determine its purpose. A naval ship has been deployed to map the debris field, which is expected to measure approximately 1,500 by 1,500 meters in the Atlantic.
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