China slams Biden for equating Xi with ‘dictators’

US President Joe Biden (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping are seen at the G20 summit in Nusa Dua, Indonesia on November 14, 2022 (SAUL LOEB)

US President Joe Biden (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping are seen at the G20 summit in Nusa Dua, Indonesia on November 14, 2022 (SAUL LOEB)

On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry slammed US President Joe Biden’s comments equating Chinese leader Xi Jinping with “dictators” as “open political provocation”.

Speaking at a fundraiser in California on Tuesday, Biden said Xi was angered by an incident in February when a Chinese balloon – which Washington says was used for espionage – flew over the United States before being shot down by American military aircraft.

His comments come just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded a visit to Beijing aimed at restoring lines of communication to avert conflict between the two world powers.

“The reason Xi Jinping was very upset when I shot down this balloon with two train cars full of spy equipment is that he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said.

“I’m serious. It was the great embarrassment of dictators, when they didn’t know what had happened.”

Beijing’s foreign ministry called Biden’s comments “ridiculous.”

“The US side’s relevant remarks are extremely ridiculous and irresponsible, seriously violating China’s fundamental facts, diplomatic protocol and political dignity,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said during a briefing. Wednesday press briefing.

“China is strongly unhappy and strongly opposed to this,” she added.

– ‘Distortion of the facts’ –

The multifaceted rivalry between China and the United States turned into a real diplomatic crisis with the February balloon incident.

Beijing reiterated its protest on Wednesday against Washington’s decision to shoot him down.

“The United States should have dealt with it calmly, rationally and professionally, but its distortion of facts, abuse of force and escalation of hype have fully exposed its hegemonic and intimidating nature,” Mao said.

Russia also criticized Biden’s comments, with the Kremlin saying Wednesday the comment reflected Washington’s “unpredictable” foreign policy.

“This is a very contradictory manifestation of American foreign policy, which highlights a significant element of unpredictability,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

– ‘That is going to take time’ –

Biden, who at 80 is running for re-election, told donors on Tuesday that “we are now in a situation where (Xi) wants to have a relationship again.”

Blinken “did a good job” on his trip to Beijing, but “it’s going to take time,” Biden added.

The US president also touched on another sticky point regarding China: a recent summit where the leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States – known as the Quad Group – sought to enhance peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific maritime region. .

The four countries are “working hand in hand in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean,” Biden said.

“What really upset him (Xi) was that I insisted that we unite the…so-called Quad,” Biden said.

Tuesday was not the first time Biden had made significant, even provocative, statements at fundraising receptions — usually small-scale events where cameras and recordings are banned but reporters can listen in and transcribe. the President’s opening remarks.

At one such event last October, Biden raised the threat of a nuclear “Armageddon” from Russia.


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