During a fundraising event in California, US President Joe Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator. These comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent talks with President Xi in Beijing. That aimed at easing tensions between the two nations. President Biden also claimed that President Xi was embarrassed by the alleged shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon by the US.
China promptly expressed its strong opposition to Biden’s remarks. Biden stated, “Xi Jinping got very upset when I shot down that balloon with two box cars full of spy equipment because he didn’t know it was there. That’s a great embarrassment for dictators when they are unaware of what’s happening.” The balloon, which China insisted was used for weather monitoring purposes. Drifted across the continental US and was subsequently destroyed by American military aircraft in February.
The US later revealed that it was part of a larger Chinese intelligence-gathering program. As a result, Blinken’s planned visit to Beijing was postponed. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, criticized Biden’s comments as “extremely absurd and irresponsible.” Speaking at a routine press conference, she labelled the remarks as “an open political provocation” that violated diplomatic norms. Blinken’s recent visit to Beijing, the first by a US secretary of state in nearly five years, marked a resumption of high-level communication between the two countries.
Both President Xi and Secretary Blinken acknowledged some progress in the talks, but significant differences between the US and China remain. The relationship between the two nations has deteriorated due to the trade war initiated during the Trump administration. China‘s assertive claims regarding Taiwan, and the incident involving the alleged spy balloon being shot down.