Biden calls Xi “dictator”; China hits back at US “political provocation”


Chinese foreign ministry has accused United States President Joe Biden of “political provocation” after he called Xi Jinping a “dictator.”

Responding to a question regarding remarks made by Biden recently, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson reiterated her government’s stance that the balloon incident “was entirely an accidental event” that the US had taken out of proportion, The New York Times reported.

While addressing a news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said that the remarks made by the US President were “utterly absurd and irresponsible” and added that “they are a grave violation of basic facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity. They are an open political provocation.”

Biden on Tuesday called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping a “dictator” who was not aware of the “spy balloon” that entered the United States airspace in January, The New York Times reported.

While addressing a campaign fund-raiser in California, Biden spoke about the Chinese balloon that entered the US airspace and strained the ties between the two nations for months. He said that US intelligence agencies had learned about the internal confusion in Beijing during the incident.

“The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two boxcars full of spy equipment in it is he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said at the big-dollar event in a private Kentfield home, according to The New York Times report.

He further said, “No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened.” Other US officials were left surprised that Biden would discuss the sensitive information in a public setting.

One official, who has been briefed on the intelligence and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden’s remarks demonstrated the US government’s private assessment, the report said.

Biden’s remarks come a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Xi Jinping in Beijing. Blinken’s visit to China in February was cancelled after the Chinese balloon entered US airspace.

“The very important point is he’s in a situation now where he wants to have a relationship again,” Biden said of Xi Jinping. He said, “Tony Blinken just went over there, our secretary of state; did a good job. And it’s going to take time,” according to The New York Times report.

“That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was,” Biden said while referring to the balloon at the event in California. He noted that the balloon was blown off through Alaska and Xi Jinping was not aware of it.

Referring to Xi, Biden said, “It was blown off course up through Alaska and then down through the United States, and he didn’t know about it.”

He further said, “When it got shot down, he was very embarrassed. He denied it was even there.” Biden further said that Xi Jinping was frustrated by his efforts to bolster the Quad.

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