During his speech at a fundraiser in California, US President Joe Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator on Tuesday. Biden’s remarks on his Chinese counterpart come a day after US State Secretary Antony Blinken met with Xi for talks in Beijing to ease the bilateral relations between both nations. He also added that Xi was embarrassed when the US shot down the Chinese spy balloon above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina in February.
According to Mr. Biden, Xi Jinping became extremely angry because he was unaware of the presence of spy equipment when he destroyed the balloon carrying it using two box cars. This lack of knowledge causes great embarrassment for dictators when they are unaware of significant events, as Mr. Biden mentioned.
Biden not ready to let go of the spy balloon incident
After meeting Chinese officials, including Xi Jinping, Antony Blinken said the spy balloon incident with China “should be closed” in an interview with MSNBC. “We said what we needed to say and made clear what we needed to make clear in terms of this not happening again, and so long as it doesn’t, that chapter should be closed,” Blinken said in the interview.
However, the US President did not let go of the issue and revisited it in a room of about 125 people, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Post Blinken’s China visit Biden has said that China “has real economic difficulties” due to the setbacks the Chinese economy faced in May. He also mentioned Xi’s concerns about the QUAD strategic security dialogue. All these comments come while Biden started his re-election campaign for the 2024 presidential election.
China has not responded to Biden’s remarks on Xi so far.
Blinken’s China Visit
Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing– the first visit by a high-level US diplomat since 2018- was a milestone in restarting the strained relationship between the two world powers. Though Blinken has cleared a diplomatic path, the visit’s success remains to be seen. In a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi hailed Blinken for his efforts to make progress in steadying the bilateral relations between both nations. Xi and Blinken had a 35-minute-long meeting in the Great Hall of People. Biden has also praised Blinken, saying both countries are on the right path to restoring the relationship.
With China and US locking horns on an array of issues ranging from trade, human rights and Taiwan, Blinken’s main aim while his visit to China was to restore and strengthen the high-level communication channels. However, the military-to-military communication remains to be resolved.
The Xi-Blinken talk is expected to facilitate future visits of senior officials from both countries, including a Biden-Xi meeting in the coming months.
Biden not refraining from giving public comments on the Chinese President could undermine the relative success that Blinken achieved during his visit. Nevertheless, Biden has to paint a more potent image at the national level to make his 2024 election bid stronger and to convince the Democrats that he is the best candidate they have.
Though China has not given any official response to Biden’s comment, the possibility of a fierce reaction from China will likely happen.