Following a meeting between the two nations in Beijing, President Joe Biden described Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator.
Biden referred to Xi as a dictator during a Tuesday fundraising engagement in California.
The US President’s comments were made one day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Xi in Beijing for talks aimed at alleviating tensions between the two superpowers.
After the United States shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, Biden added that Xi felt humiliated.
Biden stated at the fundraiser, “The reason why Xi Jinping was so agitated when I shot down the balloon containing two box cars of spy equipment was because he didn’t know it was there.
“That’s a tremendous embarrassment for dictators. When they were unaware of what had transpired,” he added.
The balloon, which China claims was used for weather monitoring, drifted across the continental United States before being detonated in February by American military aircraft.
The United States subsequently stated that it was part of a massive Chinese intelligence collection programme. Mr. Blinken, who was scheduled to travel to Beijing at the time of the incident, postponed his journey.
The spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, Mao Ning, described Biden’s remarks as “extremely absurd and irresponsible.”
On Wednesday, at a regularly scheduled press conference, she stated that the remarks constituted “an open political provocation” that violated diplomatic protocol.
The weekend visit by Blinken, the first by an American secretary of state in nearly five years, re-established high-level communications between the two nations.
Xi stated that some progress had been made in Beijing, while Blinken indicated that both parties were amenable to further discussions. However, significant differences persist between the two nations.
Relations have deteriorated as a result of Trump’s trade conflict, Beijing’s assertive claims over Taiwan, and the alleged downing of a spy balloon.