Merkley on Chinese balloon: 'China is pressing all the boundaries'

Merkley on Chinese balloon: 'China is pressing all the boundaries'

By:  Takur Conlu and Staff

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Senator Jeff Merkley commented on the Chinese spy balloon that first appeared over Montana during a town hall at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg Saturday.

The order to shoot down the balloon was given by President Joe Biden on Wednesday but was delayed due to safety concerns with falling debris.

It was finally shot down Saturday and Merkley gave his reaction just hours after the event.

"It's bizarre," the Senator said, "and I'm glad we've shot it down and we'll find out more about what it was up to. But I must say, China is pressing all the boundaries."

Merkley says the balloon's presence in U.S. airspace is just one more example of china overstepping.

He also lists the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and militarization, violating sea rights and borders, and the surveillance and mistreatment of the Uygher population.

During the town hall itself, Merkley detailed how China became so powerful.

"We, the American consumer, made them powerful," said Merkley. "And it was a geo-strategic move to say we wanted to separate China from the Soviet Union (then the Soviet Union, now Russia). We want to separate them. And so we get this special deal to let China sell their products here. We put millions of Americans out of work to make China rich. And now they're using that strength to push their way and become the bully of Asia."

On a lighter note, Merkley took the whole situation with some humor.

He mentioned at the town hall the spy balloon sounded like something out of the satirical news site, The Onion.