Biden Labels Chinese President Xi 'Dictator'

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The Facts

  • US Pres. Joe Biden on Tuesday likened his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to a dictator, one day after Sec. of State Antony Blinken met Xi on a trip to China meant to ease bilateral tensions.

  • Speaking about a suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down by the US earlier this year, Biden claimed at a private fundraiser in Northern California that Xi was upset because he was unaware that the balloon had gone off course.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Biden calling Xi a dictator a day after Blinken's visit to China is a serious attack on China's dignity and shows yet again that Biden is at odds with the truth and the diplomatic protocol. As a result, his remarks are likely to imperil recent efforts to stabilize US-China relations. The fact that Washington twisted the facts and inflated the spy balloon incident is consistent with Washington's bullying and hypocrisy toward China.

Pro-establishment narrative

Biden's choice of words is unlikely to significantly jeopardize recent diplomatic progress. Blinken's visit underscored Washington's desire to improve relations with China, and Biden also expressed hope of meeting with Xi himself in the coming months. Beijing has a vested interest in reducing tensions with Washington for geopolitical and economic reasons, and should work with the US to continue the difficult journey of understanding.

Narrative C

Biden called Xi a dictator but at the same time defended him by echoing the Chinese narrative that the spy balloon was merely off course when it flew over some of the most sensitive US military installations. In reality, it was the Biden administration, not Xi, that was unaware of what was going on when the spy attack occurred, thereby jeopardizing US national security.

Metaculus Prediction

Public figures in this story

Establishment split



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