U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed his belief that Chinese President Xi Jinping operates as a dictator, a statement likely to strain relations between the two nations following their recent summit talks in San Francisco.
After engaging in four hours of discussions with Xi on the outskirts of San Francisco, Biden held a solo news conference where he faced questions about his previous characterization of Xi as a dictator, a term he had used in June.
“Look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours,” Biden responded.
In reaction to Biden’s comments, China’s foreign ministry expressed strong opposition, deeming the statement “extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation.” Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning emphasised that some individuals with ulterior motives may attempt to incite and damage U.S.-China relations, but their efforts are bound to fail.
Xi Jinping secured a third term as president in March through a unanimous vote by nearly 3,000 members of China’s National People’s Congress, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, where he was the sole candidate. Xi’s leadership has been marked by a decade of consolidating power in various domains, including policy-making, the military, and the curtailment of media freedoms.
Despite the ongoing diplomatic tensions, the two leaders engaged in extensive talks, aiming to address strained relations between the United States and China. The recent summit, which took place during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, aimed to foster dialogue and understanding between the two nations. Meanwhile, hundreds of Beijing critics marched through the city’s downtown area during the summit, advocating for issues such as “free Tibet” and “free Hong Kong.”