US President Joe Biden reiterated in a conversation with “CNN” that he still sees Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator. The statement came despite progress in their relationship being made between the two leaders during a meeting near San Francisco. “He is a dictator in the sense that he runs a country that is based on a completely different form of government than ours,” Biden told CNN journalist MJ Lee. Further statements from the president could provoke renewed anger in Beijing, as was the case in the summer when Biden made similar statements.
Angry reaction from Beijing
In June, Biden compared Xi to “dictators” during a campaign rally in California, prompting Beijing to respond quickly and furiously. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing stressed at the time that Biden’s statements “seriously contradict basic facts, seriously violate diplomatic customs and seriously undermine China’s political dignity.”
Biden praised positive conversations
Biden’s comments could jeopardize the positive signals emerging from the meeting. Despite strained U.S.-China relations, Biden and Xi appear to maintain a personal warmth. Biden praised the talks as “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we have had to date.”
Xi, for his part, urged the US “not to make plans to suppress or contain China,” Chinese state media reported. During the meeting, both leaders stressed the need for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, maintaining communication and preventing conflict, according to a report by state news agency Xinhua.
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