Beijing has dismissed the US statements as "ridiculous and irresponsible"

Biden calls Xi Jinping a "dictator" and adds another diplomatic setback with China

Joe Biden, presidente de los Estados Unidos - PHOTO/ARCHIVO
PHOTO/ARCHIVE - Joe Biden, President of the United States

Not the finest diplomacy. Joe Biden's has thrown all the efforts made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing into disarray. A two-day official visit in which Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to try to put a brake on the strained relations between the two economic powers. In vain, since Biden's statements. 

"The reason Xi Jinping was very angry when I shot down that balloon with two spy teams was that he didn't know they were there. That's a great shame for dictators, when they don't know something has happened," the US president said, referring to the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the United States after flying over its soil. 

According to Biden, the spy balloon was "blown off course by the wind" while flying over Alaska and the Chinese president did not know about it until it was shot down by the US: "When it was shot down he was very embarrassed and denied that it was there". Biden made the remarks at a fundraiser in California, just a day after Blinken's meeting with Xi.

PHOTO/TWITTER/SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN – El secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, Antony Blinken, con el presidente de China, Xi Jinping, en una reunión en Pekín
PHOTO/TWITTER/SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing

Bordering on the ironic, the White House occupant welcomed Blinken's visit to China as a way to de-escalate those tensions. "We're now in a situation where he (Xi) wants to get back to having a relationship. Antony Blinken has just been there, he's done a good job and it will take time," he said. A flight forward after statements that put all attempts to restore stability to relations between Washington and Beijing at square one.  

The Chinese response 

A totally disconcerting situation for China. "The statements by the US are extremely ridiculous and irresponsible. They seriously violate basic facts, diplomatic protocols and China's political dignity," denounced Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.  

Beijing reiterated its position on the Chinese balloon in the US space, "an accidental event caused by a force majeure" that the US should have handled "calmly, rationally and professionally". Ning has accused Washington of "distorting the facts, abusing force and tensionalising the situation".

PHOTO/TWITTER/@Kanthan2030 – El secretario de Estados de Estados Unidos, Antony Bllinken, se reúne con el canciller chino Qing Gang
PHOTO/TWITTER/@Kanthan2030 – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Bllinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Qing Gang

Blinken's work in Beijing 

Hours before Biden's diplomatic misstep, Blinken and Xi Jinping agreed to stabilise the intense rivalry between the two countries so as not to escalate into conflict and to continue diplomatic engagement with more visits by US officials to the Chinese capital in the coming months. The same lines of communication that Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agreed to in a face-to-face meeting at the G20 summit in Indonesia. 

Blinken's visit is the first in five years by a US secretary of state to Beijing, and against all the low expectations placed on his mission, he has managed to unpick the worrying rhetoric employed by the two countries. Considered a special gesture, the talks between Blinken and Xi took place at the audience in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. 

In another gesture to defuse tensions, Blinken himself reaffirmed the US position on Taiwan, stating its opposition to the island's independence, but asserting that Washington will not consent to forcible change of the "status quo" in Taipei, the administration it will help if attacked.