WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday he does not believe his comments calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator” would not damage the progress made between the United States and China.
“The answer to your question is no,” Biden said during a White House news conference. “I don’t think it’s had any real consequence.”
The President added he hopes to meet with Xi “in the near future”.
Biden’s comments came just hours after Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu called the comments “erroneous, absurd and irresponsible,” and warned that the Chinese government “does not accept any political provocation against China’s top leader and will resolutely respond.”
Biden made the remark on Tuesday at a fundraiser in California, saying Xi was embarrassed because he did not know about the alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the U.S. earlier in the year.
“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 is he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said. “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they don’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was.”
“We urge the U.S. side to immediately take earnest actions to undo the negative impact and honor its own commitments,” the Chinese spokesperson said in response. “Otherwise, it will have to bear all the consequences.”
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.