Blinken Refuses To Say Whether Xi Jinping Is A Dictator Before CNN Host Ends Interview

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken refused Sunday to say whether Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dictator, receiving no pushback from CNN’s Dana Bash as the interview concluded.

Blinken visited the communist nation in mid-June, making key concessions to the Chinese Communist Party while failing to secure a military communication agreement. Blinken was also there to emphasize the Biden administration was not seeking conflict with Beijing.

Biden called Xi a “dictator” on Tuesday night and labeled China a country with “real economic difficulties,” prompting backlash from the nation.

“I have to ask you about China. You just went to Beijing last week. It was an attempt to smooth frayed relations with China. Two days later, President Biden called Xi Jinping a ‘dictator,’ which angered China so much that they issued an official diplomatic reprimand to the U.S. ambassador,” Bash said. “Was the president wrong to call Xi Jinping a dictator?” (RELATED: Blinken Says Spy Balloon Incident Is Water Under The Bridge).

“Dana, it is very clear that when it comes to China, we are going to do and say things that they don’t like. They are going to do and say things that we don’t like. If you look at what comes out of the Chinese foreign ministry every day about the United States, you’d hear plenty of that. But the purpose of the trip — at the president’s instruction — was to try to bring a little bit more stability to the relationship. To demonstrate that, we’re committed to managing it responsibly — which really is an obligation for us and an expectation that countries around the world have — and to be able to deal very directly with our differences. There’s no secret about those differences. There’s no secret about concerns we have about democracy, about human rights, about some of the actions that China is taking around the world. And being able to have better, stronger, sustained lines of communication means we could talk about these differences directly.”

“Do you believe that Xi Jinping is a dictator?” Bash later asked.

“The president speaks clearly, he speaks candidly. I’ve worked for him for more than 20 years and he speaks for all of us,” Blinken responded.

Bash then ended the interview without any pushback on his answer.