WOODSIDE, Calif. — After rattling off a list of perceived agreements made with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Biden on Wednesday once again called his counterpart a “dictator” — a move that’s likely to agitate already fraught relations between the two powerhouse economies.
“Look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that is based on a form of government totally different from ours,” Biden told reporters in off-the-cuff remarks following a press conference in California where he met with Xi for hours.
Biden emerged from that meeting during the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco ticking off a list of agreements the two leaders came to, including resuming military to military communication and dealing with the influx of fentanyl into the U.S. They also discussed the upcoming Taiwanese elections, artificial intelligence and the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.
The two leaders met for about four hours, had lunch and went for a walk, just the two of them, around the grounds of the Filoli estate.
It marked the second time this year Biden referred to Xi as such.
In June, while at a fundraiser in the San Francisco area, Biden said he thought Xi was a dictator after Biden described Xi as getting upset when a Chinese spy balloon was ordered shot down by the U.S. military in February.
“The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two box cars full of spy equipment is he didn’t know it was there. No, I’m serious. That was the great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened,” Biden told donors at the time.
Updated 10:27 p.m.