officers caught off guard by Biden’s ‘Xi dictator’ remarks – NBC

38 officers caught off guard by Biden’s ‘Xi dictator’ remarks – NBC

Diplomats in Washington reportedly reassured China that the president’s feedback don’t mark a coverage shift

Senior US officers have been bowled over by US President Joe Biden’s remarks labeling Chinese language President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” which got here shortly after a landmark go to of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing, NBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

On Tuesday, talking at a fundraiser in California, the US chief advised that Xi didn’t even know in regards to the Chinese language balloon that entered US airspace earlier this 12 months. Whereas Beijing insisted that the vessel deviated from its course on account of “power majeure circumstances,” the Pentagon claimed that it was gathering intel on American strategic amenities.

“That’s a fantastic embarrassment for dictators. After they didn’t know what occurred. That [balloon] wasn’t presupposed to be going the place it was,” Biden mentioned.

The remarks prompted a fast pushback from the Chinese language Overseas Ministry, describing them as “extraordinarily absurd” and an “open political provocation.”

Officers in Washington privately approached their counterparts in Beijing to reassure them that the assertion by the 80-year-old president doesn’t replicate a shift in White Home insurance policies on China, the report says. The officers additionally reportedly don’t anticipate the remarks to turn into “a serious setback to the progress Blinken made throughout his China journey.”

A number of NBC sources have been cut up over what to make of Biden’s assertion, with one official saying, “it ought to come as no shock that the president speaks candidly about China.” One other supply tried to downplay the incident, suggesting that Biden was referring to dictators on the whole, and to not Xi particularly.

A 3rd US official interviewed by NBC mentioned that China was “in all probability extra indignant about Biden saying Xi shouldn’t be omnipotent and didn’t know what was occurring with the balloon.” He additionally advised that Blinken was “not upset” over the remarks, as he’s accustomed to Biden making these kinds of statements, including that the Chinese language have been properly conscious that the Sino-US talks in Beijing wouldn’t resolve all of the variations between the 2 nations.

Biden’s controversial remarks got here shortly after Blinken met with Xi within the Chinese language capital and acknowledged that each international locations had achieved progress in relations. Xi acknowledged that China “respects US pursuits,” whereas urging Washington to reciprocate on this regard.

In latest months, Sino-US relations have been marred by numerous points, together with Taiwan. China considers the island to be a part of its sovereign territory, and has decried the US weapon gross sales to Taipei.

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