President Biden repeated his reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” on Wednesday just hours after a Chinese government spokeswoman pledged that her country was “unstoppable” in eventually reclaiming Taiwan.
Biden’s comments came at his press conference concluding the US-China summit in San Francisco when a reporter asked if he would still refer to Xi using that term, which he first used in June.
“Well, he is,” Biden said. “He is a dictator in the sense that he is a man who runs a communist country, which is based on a completely different form of government than ours.”
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Biden’s first reference to Xi as a “dictator” came amid the aftermath of a Chinese spy balloon crossing the continental United States, which caused an uproar after the president waited until it was off the coast of South Carolina before giving the order to shoot it down.
“The reason Xi Jinping was so upset when you dropped that balloon that had two cars full of spy equipment inside is because he didn’t know it was there. That’s a huge embarrassment to dictators when they don’t know what happened,” Biden said.
At the time, his comments angered the Chinese government, which called them “extremely ridiculous and irresponsible.”
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In the midst of his summit with Xi on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a blunt warning about friendly relations between the United States and Taiwan, referring to the “Taiwan issue” as “the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations.”
“The US side must take real measures to fulfill its commitment not to support Taiwan independence, stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification,” she wrote in a post on X. “China will achieve reunification, and this is unstoppable.”
However, when asked about Taiwan in his news conference, Biden reiterated America’s commitment to the “one China” policy, and made no mention of the island nation.
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In his closing news conference, Biden also pointed to deals he said the two governments had reached regarding fentanyl supplies coming into the United States from Asia and plans to improve communications between the US and Chinese militaries.
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Fox News’ Jackie Heinrich and Timothy H.J. Nirozzi contributed reporting on the thief.