President Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator while speaking to supporters at a private fundraising event in Northern California Tuesday evening. The comment came on the heels of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’swith Xi Monday during a rare diplomatic trip to China.
Mr. Biden, addressing the Chinese surveillance balloon which wasby the U.S. military in February off the coast of South Carolina, implied that Xi was caught off guard by the incident.
“And 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,” Mr. Biden said.
That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened,” Mr. Biden went on.
The comments came after Blinken wrapped up a two-day trip to Beijing amid growing diplomatic tensions with China. Blinken’s trip was the first of a secretary of state to China since 2018. He had been scheduled to travel to China in February, but canceled that trip due to the balloon incident.
Mr. Biden praised Blinken Tuesday, saying he “did a good job,” and added that Xi “wants to have a relationship again” with the U.S.
Speaking to CBS News Monday, Blinkenbetween the two superpowers a “work in progress.
“This is something that we need to do in the interests of both of our countries, that is, not only to establish and reestablish and strengthen lines of communication across our government — which we have done, starting with this trip, and I believe visits to follow by a number of my colleagues, and then Chinese officials coming to the United States hugely important if we’re going to responsibly manage the relationship, if we’re going to communicate clearly and try to avoid the competition that we have veering into conflict.”