Blinken defends Biden on labeling China’s Xi a “dictator”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has backed President Joe Biden’s remarks calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator, saying the American leader “speaks for all of us.”

“It’s 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,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked whether the president was wrong to refer to Xi as a dictator in comments about the Chinese spy balloon that crossed the U.S. before being shot down in February.

“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 can talk about these differences directly,” Blinken added.

“Do you believe that Xi Jinping is a dictator?” host Dana Bash pressed.

“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 said.

China had ripped Biden for the remarks, which Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning labeled “extremely absurd and irresponsible.”

Blinken visited Beijing earlier this month after a trip planned for February was postponed amid the surveillance balloon incident. Blinken met with Xi and other officials, including Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, in a trip aimed at stabilizing tense Beijing-Washington relations.

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