Mon, 27 Mar 2023

Washington [US], February 6 (ANI): US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday said that the full Senate will get a "larger and full" briefing on China next week, CNN reported.

Calling it "very important and serious," Schumer stated that the briefing will include information about China's surveillance capabilities, research and development, advanced weapons systems and other "critical platforms," as per the CNN report.

"The full Senate, all senators of both parties will have a larger and full China briefing next week. And that is something that I think will be very important, serious and hopefully nonpolitical," CNN quoted Chuck Schumer as saying at a news conference in Manhattan.

He further said, "Under this full brief, all senators in both parties will be briefed by the Department of Defense on their office of Net Assessment (ONA) US-China Overmatch Study."The statement of Chuck Schumer comes after the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard of the US. The balloon was first spotted over the continental US several days ago.

Chuck Schumer also spoke on criticism from Republican lawmakers on how the Biden administration handled the response to the suspected Chinese spy balloon, terming it "political and premature," according to CNN. He said that the US has sent a clear message to China that "this is not acceptable.""We are hearing GOP criticism of the balloon mission. That they are saying we should have shot down the balloon the minute we saw it. I would use two words in answering these GOP criticisms: They are premature and they are political," CNN quoted Schumer as saying.

He further said, "Our friends are playing politics with US intelligence. We sent a clear message to China that this is not acceptable. We protected civilians. We gained more intelligence while protecting our own sensitive information." Earlier on Saturday, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in a statement said that US fighter aircraft shot down China's surveillance balloon over the water off the coast of South Carolina in US airspace. He said that the balloon which was used by China in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental US was shot down above US territorial waters.

"This afternoon, at the direction of President Biden, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in U.S. airspace," Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

He further said, "The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters."Lloyd Austin said that US President Joe Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon "as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon's path." Furthermore, he said that US military commanders determined that downing the balloon over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area.

Austin said that the US Department of Defence after careful analysis created options to shoot down the balloon safely over US territorial waters while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities. He also thanked Canada for its support to tracking and analysis of the balloon as it transited North America.

"This action was taken in coordination, and with the full support, of the Canadian government. And we thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through NORAD as it transited North America," Lloyd Austin said. (ANI)

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