Biden: Calling China’s Xi a dictator has not had ‘any real consequence’

Biden US India
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches out to shake hands with President Joe Biden during a State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Biden: Calling China’s Xi a dictator has not had ‘any real consequence’

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President Joe Biden dismissed the ramifications of his describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator, previewing a meeting between the men in the future.

“I expect to be meeting with President Xi sometime in the future, the near term, and I don’t think it’s had any real consequence,” Biden told reporters Thursday in the White House‘s East Room during a press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Biden, who used the dictator descriptor this week during a fundraiser, downplayed concerns about the United States and China as “hysteria” after Secretary of State Antony Blinken‘s trip to Beijing was delayed last spring after the spy balloon.

“We had an incident that caused some confusion, you might say, but Secretary Blinken had a great trip to China,” he said.

Biden additionally raised the issue of Ukraine amid India’s refusal to condemn Russia for the war while it continues to buy Russia energy, particularly natural gas.

“We also talked about our shared efforts to mitigate human humanitarian tragedy unleashed by Russia is brutal war in Ukraine,” he said during his opening remarks.

Modi countered by underscoring India’s efforts to secure peace since the start of the conflict during his statement, advocating a “resolution” of the dispute “through dialogue and diplomacy.”

Modi declined to take questions from Indian reporters, citing his address to a joint session of Congress, but did respond to inquiries from members of the press called on by Biden.

As part of Modi’s official visit, amplifying the U.S. and India’s economic, security, and people-to-people partnership, the pair announced India will purchase U.S. General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones and work with General Electric F414 to produce engines for Indian fighter jets, undermining India’s reliance on Russia as they adopt a more assertive posture toward China.

But they, too, broached the issue of India’s democratic backsliding during their earlier public comments.

“I look forward to discussing how we can strengthen our partnership and build a future together worthy of both our peoples, one grounded on democracy, human rights, freedom, and the rule of law,” Biden told Modi in the Oval Office before their bilateral meeting.

“In today’s rapidly changing global situation, all eyes are on the two largest democracies in the world: America and India,” Modi said through a translator, simultaneously referring to China.

The two earlier spoke to a crowd of 7,000 people on the South Lawn during Modi’s arrival ceremony, despite wet weather. Biden did momentarily put his hand on his heart for the Indian national anthem before realizing his mistake.

“The decisions we make today are going to determine our future for decades to come,” Biden said.

“Our strong strategic partnership is proof of the power of democracy,” Modi added.

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Thursday’s schedule included the welcome ceremony, bilateral meeting, and press conference, followed by a state dinner.

“The visit will strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and shared resolve to elevate the technology partnership, including in defense, clean energy, and space,” the White House said. “The leaders will discuss ways to further expand our educational exchanges and people-to-people ties, as well as our work together to confront common challenges from climate change, to workforce development and health security.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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