ANI Photo | Biden stands by “Xi a dictator” remark, says “just not something…”

US President Joe Biden on Thursday doubled down on his remarks made earlier this week when he called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping a dictator, VOA News reported. Biden has said his statements regarding China were “just not something I’m going to change very much.”
Biden made the remarks when asked about the statement during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. He took another dig at the Chinese government. Biden said he believes that the ties between China and US are not in the same place as the US-India relations, adding that “is that there’s an overwhelming respect for each because we are both democracies”, VOA News reported.
A senior administration official in a statement on Wednesday said, “It should come as no surprise that the president speaks candidly about China and the differences that we have. We are certainly not alone in that”, VOA News reported.
On Tuesday, Biden 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.
Addressing a campaign fund-raiser in California, Biden spoke about the Chinese balloon that entered the US airspace, straining the ties between the two nations for months. He said US intelligence agencies had learned about the internal confusion in Beijing during the incident.
Speaking at the event in California, Biden said Xi Jinping was left surprised after a suspected Chinese spy balloon entered US airspace before the American military shot it down in February. Biden said, “That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators when they didn’t know what happened,” he said, adding, “When it got shot down, he was very embarrassed. He denied it was even there.”
Reacting to US President’s statement, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson accused Joe Biden of “political provocation”.
Responding to a question regarding remarks made by Biden recently, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson reiterated her government’s stance that the balloon incident “was entirely an accidental event” and that the US had taken out of proportion, The New York Times reported.
Addressing a news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said 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”.
At the press briefing, Mao Ning said, “The relevant remarks by the U.S. side are extremely ridiculous and irresponsible. They seriously violate basic facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity,” VOA News reported.
She added, “China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to this.”
The statement of Biden came days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China. Although Blinken’s Beijing visit did not produce a major breakthrough, he and Xi agreed to stabilize the ties between China and US. Blinken’s visit to Beijing was initially scheduled for February. However, it was postponed after the Chinese balloon crossed into US airspace.
The US Department of State has denied the notion that Biden’s remarks were counterproductive to Blinken’s efforts. Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, US Department of State spokesperson Vedant Patel said, “We will continue to responsibly manage this relationship, and maintain open lines of communication with the PRC. However, that, of course, does not mean we will not be blunt and forthright about our differences”, VOA News reported.
Patel added, “We have been very clear about the areas in which we disagree, including the clear differences we see when it comes to democracies and autocracies.”
Biden’s recent remarks have brought the focus back to the balloon incident.

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