Biden’s Off-Script Comment After Meeting with Xi Draws Fury from China

Biden’s Off-Script Comment After Meeting with Xi Draws Fury from China

Like the some says, two steps forward, two steps back.

After what several news accounts — like this one from Time — described as a “productive” meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco on Wednesday, Biden told reporters what he really thought about his negotiating partner.

“After today, would you still refer to President Xi as a dictator?” a CNN reporter asked. According to Time, the reporter was referring to a term Biden had used previously that had upset Chinese leaders.

“Well, look, he is,” Biden confirmed. “I mean he’s a dictator in the sense that here’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country based on a form of government totally different than ours.”

It’s possible that Biden realized he’d just put his foot into his mouth, as he cut off questions at that point, turning his back on reporters.

According to Politico, Biden had literally just finished listing a number of agreements to which he and Xi had agreed, including re-opening lines of communication between high-level military leaders in both countries and some steps aimed at curbing the production of fentanyl using chemicals produced in China.

They’d also agreed to further discussions on artificial intelligence.

“Our meetings have always been candid and straightforward. We haven’t always agreed, but they’ve always been straightforward,” Biden said. “And today built on several months of groundwork we’ve laid over the past several months of high-level diplomacy between our teams.”

Then, Biden called Xi a dictator. Again.

“The last time Biden called Xi a dictator, at a June fundraiser in Northern California, Chinese officials called the remarks absurd and a provocation,” Politico wrote.

China’s foreign ministry condemned the remarks without making specific mention of the U.S. president, saying it “strongly opposes” them.

“This statement is extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters Thursday at a briefing, according to Reuters.

“It should be pointed out that there will always be some people with ulterior motives who attempt to incite and damage U.S.-China relations, they are doomed to fail,” she added, although it was difficult to imagine whom she might have meant, given that it was Biden himself who both praised the progress of his talks with Xi and then called him a dictator. (Reuters noted that she refused to elaborate when asked.)

Reuters also noted that Xi was “elected” to a third term as president in March by a unanimous vote by all 3,000 members of what ti called “China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress.”

It also referred to Xi as “the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong” who had not only quashed most media criticism of the government but also successfully consolidated military power during his first two terms.

Biden called Xi a dictator in June, a comment Reuters said Chinese leaders had dismissed as “absurd and a provocation” but which didn’t prevent further diplomatic talks that eventually led up to the summit in San Francisco this week.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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