BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is sounding off about a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon and is calling for the government to take action.
Hutchinson issued a statement Friday calling for the balloon to be shot down, saying that this was a “hostile action” by China.
“Our national security is a non-negotiable aspect of American sovereignty — sovereignty that has been blatantly disregarded by this hostile action by the Chinese Communist Party. China is not to be trusted when they claim this was unintentional and weather-related,” Hutchinson said. “Rather than continuing to allow this national security threat to linger over the heartland of America, the spy balloon should be destroyed by our air defense forces when the safety of American lives are assured.”
Hutchinson also took Pres. Joe Biden’s administration to task, calling its response to the incident “lackadaisical.”
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Pentagon officials reported spotting and tracking the balloon. Officials said with “very high confidence” it was a Chinese high-altitude balloon flying over sensitive sites across the northern United States to collect information.
The balloon had been spotted over Montana where three nuclear missile silos are located on an Air Force base. Pentagon officials said it had not been shot down due to safety concerns for people on the ground.
The AP reported Sec. of State Antony Blinken had planned a diplomatic trip to China this weekend, but his trip was canceled due to the balloon incursion. Blinken appeared Friday and confirmed the cancellation was due to the balloon incursion.
“We concluded that conditions were not conducive for a constructive visit at this time. And my call today with [China] Director Wang Yi, I made clear that the presence of this surveillance balloon in U.S. airspace is a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law, that it’s an irresponsible act and that the PRC decision to take this action on the eve of my planned visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were prepared to have,” AP quoted Blinken saying.
CNN is reporting that several Republican leaders have called for the balloon to be shot down, including former Pres. Donald Trump.