Biden calls Chinese President Xi Jinping a ‘dictator’ who was embarrassed by the spy balloon a day after the Secretary of State visited Beijing to ease tensions between the nations
President Joe Biden called Xi Jinping a dictator on Tuesday, in off-the-cuff remarks made a day after his secretary of state visited Xi in Beijing to try to ease tensions.
Antony Blinken became the first senior US diplomat to visit China in five years, and his trip took place in the shadow of COVID, tensions in Taiwan and the “spy balloon” saga.
Washington and Beijing said progress had been made, without detailing concrete examples.
But Blinken’s work was quickly overshadowed by Biden’s remarks at a California fundraiser on Tuesday.
“The reason Xi Jinping was so upset when I shot down this balloon with two carloads of spy equipment was that he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said, making reference to the February incident.
“It is a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what had happened.
“It wasn’t supposed to go where it was. He was of course blown away.
Joe Biden is seen at an artificial intelligence event in San Francisco on Tuesday. He then attended a fundraiser, where he called the Chinese president a dictator
Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, is seen in Beijing on Monday meeting with Xi Jinping. Blinken is the first senior US official to visit China in five years
China has yet to respond to Biden’s comments.
In March, Xi secured an unprecedented third term as president after clinching another five years as leader of the ruling Communist Party in October, making him China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
Biden also said China “is in real economic trouble.”
China’s economy stumbled in May with forecasts of industrial production growth and retail sales missing, adding to expectations that Beijing will need to do more to shore up a fragile post-pandemic recovery.
Earlier this month, the World Bank predicted US growth of 1.1% for 2023, more than double the 0.5% predicted in January.
China’s growth, meanwhile, is expected to climb to 5.6% from a forecast of 4.3% in January.
Blinken and Xi agreed at their Monday meeting to stabilize the intense rivalry between Washington and Beijing so that it does not escalate into conflict, but produced no breakthrough during a rare visit to China by the Secretary of State. State.
They agreed to continue diplomatic engagement with more visits from US officials in the coming weeks and months.
China’s ‘spy balloon’ is pictured February 4 being shot down off South Carolina
The ‘spy balloon’ is seen Feb. 1 above Billings, Montana. He crossed the United States before being shot
Biden said later on Tuesday that US climate envoy John Kerry may visit China soon.
Biden said on Monday he believed relations between the two countries were on the right track, and he indicated progress had been made during Blinken’s trip.
Biden said Tuesday that Xi was concerned about the so-called Quad Strategic Security Group, which includes Japan, Australia, India and the United States.
The US president said he had previously told Xi that the US was not trying to encircle China with the Quad.
“He called me and told me not to do this because it put him in a bind,” Biden said.
Later this week, Biden will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China is expected to be a topic of discussion between the two leaders.