China Says US Should Make Amends After Biden Calls Xi Jinping 'Dictator'

Chinese president Xi Jinping / Getty Images
June 22, 2023

China's ambassador to Washington has protested remarks President Joe Biden made about Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday, and its embassy said the United States should act immediately to undo the negative impact or bear all the consequences.

China was enraged after Biden referred to Xi as a "dictator" at a fundraising event on Tuesday, an unexpected flare-up just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken completed a visit to Beijing aimed at stabilizing relations between the superpowers.

Analysts have said that despite the controversy, both countries have little interest in allowing Biden's remark to derail efforts to improve ties. There was no coverage of the issue in official Chinese media on Thursday.

A statement from China's embassy early on Thursday said the Chinese ambassador, Xie Feng, "made serious representations and strong protests" to senior officials at the White House and the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.

"The Chinese government and people do not accept any political provocation against China’s top leader, and will resolutely respond," the statement said.

"We urge the U.S. side to immediately take earnest actions to undo the negative impact and honor its own commitments. Otherwise, it will have to bear all the consequences."

On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called the remarks "extremely absurd" and "irresponsible." She said they seriously violated facts, diplomatic protocol and China's political dignity and were an "open political provocation."

U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Wednesday that Washington continued to expect diplomatic engagements with China "in due course, when the time is appropriate" and that Biden believed diplomacy was the way forward, but added: "That does not mean, of course, we will not be blunt and forthright about our differences."

The Chinese embassy statement said Biden's remarks ran "counter to the commitments made by the U.S. side, and undermines mutual trust."

"President Biden said explicitly before that the United States respects China’s system, does not seek to change it and has no intention for a new Cold War. But with the latest irresponsible remarks about China’s political system and top leader, people cannot help but question the sincerity of the U.S. side," it said.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; additional reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Published under: China