‘Open Political Provocation’: Biden Trades Blows With China After ‘Dictators’ Comment

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden and the Chinese government traded hostile remarks after the commander-in-chief alluded to Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a “dictator.”

Biden was discussing Tuesday how the military shot down the Chinese spy balloon after it had been hovering over the U.S. for days. The president claimed Xi got “very upset” and that it was “a great embarrassment for dictators” because the Chinese leader didn’t even know the balloon was there.

“China is real — has real economic difficulties. And the reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two boxcars full of spy equipment in it is he didn’t know it was there. No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was. It was blown off course up through Alaska and then down through the United States. And he didn’t know about it. When it got shot down, he was very embarrassed. He denied it was even there,” Biden said in campaign reception remarks while he was in California.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said Biden’s remarks were “ridiculously absurd and irresponsible,” CNBC reported.

“It is a grave disregard for basic facts, a serious breach of diplomatic protocol, a serious violation of China’s political dignity and amounted to open political provocation,” the spokesperson added. “China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition.”

Biden also told the audience that they shouldn’t worry “about China.”

“I promise you we’re going to — don’t worry about China. I mean, worry about China, but don’t worry about China,” Biden said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) boards his plane for travel to London from Beijing, China, on June 19, 2023. President Xi Jinping hosted Antony Blinken for talks in Beijing on June 19, capping two days of high-level talks by the US secretary of state with Chinese officials. (Photo by LEAH MILLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a long-anticipated trip to China in mid-June after the trip was initially postponed after the spy balloon. Blinken met with Xi and attempted to set up a military-to-military direct hotline, but failed to get the Chinese onboard. He then said the spy balloon incident was “closed.” (RELATED: Blinken Bends The Knee To Xi In Beijing Visit, Fails To Secure Key Military Communication Deal)

Biden said Blinken did “a hell of a job” in China.