KENTFIELD, Calif. — President Joe Biden said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “very embarrassed” when a Chinese balloon was blown off course over the United States, labeling the leader a dictator.
Speaking at a fundraiser in California, Biden said Xi did not know the balloon’s location, causing him to become upset.
“The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two box cars full of spy equipment in it was he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said.
“That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was. It was blown off course,” he added.
Chinese spy balloon flew over U.S. airspace in February, prompting Biden to make the call to shoot it down over the North Carolina coast, which has magnified U.S.-China tensions.
What he was really upset about was that I insisted that we unite the so-called Quad,” Biden said. “He called me and tell me not to do that. Because it was putting him in a bind. I said we’re just trying to make sure the international air and sea lines remain open.”
“So now we have India, Australia, Japan, and the United States working hand in glove in the South China sea,” the President continued.
Biden’s remarks come a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Xi on a trip to China.
“We have no illusions about the challenges of managing this relationship. There are many issues on which we profoundly, even vehemently, disagree,” Blinken said at a news conference after the meeting.
“It’s the responsibility of both countries to find a path forward, and it’s in both our interests and the interests of the world that we do so,” he said.
Biden said Monday that relations between the two countries were on the right path and praised Blinken for the progress that was made during the trip.