Antony Blinken visibly winced as US President Joe Biden branded Xi Jinping a “dictator” potentially collapsing months of carefully-crafted efforts to salvage diplomatic relations.
Blinken was filmed grimacing and shaking his head while listening to Biden describe Xi as “a dictator in the sense that he is the guy who runs the country that is a community country…based on a form of government different than ours,” during his solo press conference.
The questionable choice of words came immediately after the US President and Chinese leader finally came face-to-face after a difficult year of heightened tensions between their two nations.
Their bilateral meeting took place in the context of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and marked the first one-on-one sit-down between the pair since November 2022.
Blinken’s reaction to the comments was picked up by former Italian diplomat Marco Carnelos, who noted Biden put diplomatic efforts in jeopardy with his wording.
For all the latest on news, politics, sports, and showbiz from the USA, go to Daily Express US
Mao reaffirmed China’s position that the US should not provide Taiwan with armaments or back its independent role in international affairs.
But she affirmed that the meeting in San Francisco was an important step to “enhance trust, dispel misgiving, control differences and expand cooperation between China and the US.”
Blinken had been forced to step in once before to clean up after Biden following another incident in June during which he referred to Xi as a “dictator.”
The comments sparked outrage from China at a time when communications between Beijing and Washington DC had already been strained.