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President Biden Says He Still Believes Xi Jinping Is A Dictator

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Despite the positive developments in their relationship during their meeting outside of San Francisco on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden stated that he still thinks Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dictator.

“Well, look, he’s a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours,” Biden told CNN’s MJ Lee. “Anyway, we made progress.”

A representative for the Chinese Foreign Ministry described Biden’s most recent remarks as “extremely erroneous” and “an irresponsible political maneuver, which China firmly opposes” when questioned about them at a briefing on Thursday.

“What needs to be pointed out is that there will always be some people with ulterior motives attempting to undermine China-US relations. They will not succeed in doing so,” spokesperson Mao Ning said.

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, sidestepped a question regarding the Chinese response later on Thursday in favor of addressing other aspects of a reporter’s query. During his four-hour meeting with the Chinese president on Wednesday, he stated that the president was “feeling very good about the content of the discussions.”

When the president made a similar remark in June and compared his Chinese counterpart to “dictators,” Beijing reacted angrily over the summer.

At an off-camera campaign reception in California, the president said as much, criticizing Xi for being taken by surprise after the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon that had deviated from its intended path over the country.

“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.

“No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened,” Biden said at the time.

Beijing responded quickly and angrily in June.

“The remarks seriously contradict basic facts, seriously violate diplomatic etiquette, and seriously infringe on China’s political dignity,” the spokesperson for the foreign ministry said.

The positive vibes from the meeting, which Biden had earlier in the news conference described as “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” could be jeopardized by the remark made on Wednesday.

Despite the worsening US-China relations in the intervening period, Biden and Xi maintained a close personal relationship during their tenure as vice presidents. During their conversations, he even wished the Chinese leader’s wife a happy birthday, a senior US official told CNN.

“I know the man, I know his modus operandi, looked into his eyes – we have disagreements. He has a different view than I have on a lot of things, but he’s been straight. I don’t mean that good, better, indifferent, just straight,” he said.

During the lengthy negotiations on Wednesday, Xi, for his part, urged the US to “not scheme to suppress or contain China,” according to Chinese state media.

“China has no plans to surpass or unseat the United States, and the United States should not scheme to suppress or contain China,” Xi said, according to a readout released by China’s state news agency Xinhua.

“Both sides should understand each other’s principles and bottom lines, not make or stir up trouble or cross boundaries, (but instead) communicate more, have more dialogue and more discussions, and handle differences and accidents calmly,” Xi said.

Xinhua reported that during the meeting, the two leaders “emphasized the need for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, maintaining communication, and conflict prevention.”

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