Biden calls Xi Jinping a ‘dictator’; Blinken’s reaction goes viraltext_fields
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was caught on camera visibly flinching and disapprovingly shaking his head as President Joe Biden called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping a "dictator".
The US president made the remark on Wednesday soon after a rare four-hour meeting with Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meet in San Fransisco.
"He is a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is communist," Biden said responding to a question from reporters, adding that the Chinese government "is totally different" than that of the US.
A clip of the moment captured by CNN has been shared widely on social media and shows Blinken visibly fidgeting with his fingers, grimacing and breathing deeply as Biden was asked if he would still refer to Xi as a "dictator" - a term the US President had used earlier this year.
In the clip, Blinken had slightly furrowed eyebrows as Biden made the remark. The US Secretary of State was also caught blinking his eyes rapidly and looking at Biden with a concerned look on his face.
China’s foreign ministry strongly condemned the comments as “wrong and irresponsible”.
“It should be pointed out that there will always be some people with ulterior motives who attempt to incite and damage US-China relations, they are doomed to fail,” Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign minister, said on Thursday.
Blinken defended Biden's comments, saying that China should expect candid statements it dislikes.
“The president always speaks candidly and he speaks for all of us. Look, it's clear that we will continue to say things and continue to do things that China doesn't like, just as I assume that they will continue to do and say things that we don't like," Blinken told CBS News as quoted by news agency AFP.
President Xi set foot on American soil for the first time in six years, initiating a high-stakes summit with President Biden aimed at mending strained ties and restoring normalcy to the bilateral relations between the two nations.
A senior official of the Biden-led administration said that the meeting was open, frank, and candid, news agency PTI reported.
The two leaders were able to discuss a host of issues including bilateral ties, regional and key global issues such as Iran, the Middle East, Ukraine, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, economic issues, artificial intelligence, drugs, and climate change.