Biden Calls China’s Xi Jinping a “Dictator” 

June 21, 2023

President Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” on Tuesday, raising the ire of the government in Beijing.

The latest quarrel between the two superpowers comes on the heels of a visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that was aimed at easing tensions aggravated by the Pentagon’s downing of a Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast after it crossed the continental U.S. in February.


Blinken on Monday had asserted that after his visit, which included a meeting with Xi, the spy balloon “chapter should be closed.”

Yet on Tuesday, Biden said, “The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two box cars full of spy equipment is he didn’t know it was there.”

He added, “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called Biden’s remarks “extremely absurd” and “irresponsible.”

She went on to say the remarks were a “political provocation” that seriously violated facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity.

Since the balloon incident, the U.S. and China have undertaken low-level engagements despite tensions over not just the balloon incident but also both sides’ actions in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, as well as China’s refusal to condemn Russia for its 16-month-long invasion of Ukraine.

However, China and the U.S. have still not reestablished military communication, which had been cut off last summer in response to a visit to China’s neighbor, Taiwan, by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

China claims the self-governing island of Taiwan as its own territory, and has in recent months been saber-rattling against its neighbor, situated just 100 miles off the Chinese coast. Analysts say that China has been watching and waiting to see how Russia fares in its invasion of Ukraine before going forth with an assault against Taiwan. 

At a fundraiser Tuesday evening, Biden said Xi had also become more concerned about the so-called “Quad” nations—the United States, Japan, India, and Australia—acting as a buffer to Chinese interests, though Biden insisted that China need not be concerned about it.

He added that U.S. climate envoy John Kerry may go to China soon.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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