During a campaign fundraiser in California, President Joe Biden made headlines with his remark referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator.” The statement came in the context of discussing the spy balloon incident, which had strained diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Biden’s candid comment added fuel to an already tense relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
Biden Labels Chinese President Xi Jinping a ‘Dictator’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken had recently traveled to Beijing to ease tensions between the two nations. He expressed the need to move past the spy balloon incident, emphasizing that the chapter should be closed. However, President Biden reignited the issue by suggesting that Xi was embarrassed by the incident.
Biden’s Remark and its Implications
Speaking before a gathering of more than 125 attendees, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, Biden recalled shooting down the spy balloon loaded with Chinese spy equipment. He attributed Xi’s upset reaction to the fact that he was unaware of the balloon’s presence. Biden added that dictators find it embarrassing when they are caught off guard.
The Chinese Embassy did not respond immediately to Biden’s comments, leaving room for speculation on how China would react to the direct criticism from the U.S. President. Biden did not retract his statement during a subsequent fundraiser, indicating a deliberate stance on his part.
Background of the Spy Balloon Incident
The incident in question involved a Chinese spy balloon that drifted across the United States in February. China claimed it was an unmanned civilian airship conducting meteorological research. However, the U.S. Air Force shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina after it hovered above sensitive military installations. This event escalated tensions between Beijing and Washington, leading to diplomatic conflicts.
Ongoing Challenges in U.S.-China Relations
According to NBC News, While Blinken’s visit to China was deemed relatively successful by Biden, several military communication channels that were severed after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan remained unresolved. The absence of breakthroughs during the meeting highlighted the challenges in stabilizing the relationship between the two countries.
Recent military encounters between China and the U.S. in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea have raised concerns. China justified its actions as necessary to protect its national sovereignty, while the U.S. emphasized its commitment to operating in international airspace and waters. These incidents further strained relations and hindered efforts to maintain an ongoing dialogue.
President Biden’s Views on China and Xi Jinping
During the fundraiser, Biden expressed that Xi appeared to be increasingly concerned about the Quad strategic security group, consisting of the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India. The Quad has openly discussed acting as a buffer to Chinese interests. However, Biden reassured Xi that China had no reason to worry about the group’s intentions.
Despite recent friction between Beijing and Washington, Biden advised the audience not to be overly concerned about China. His remarks conveyed a nuanced approach, encouraging vigilance while maintaining a cautious optimism.