Joe Biden says his earlier ‘dictator’ comment on Chinese president Xi Jinping has not derailed efforts to mend ties between the world’s two largest economies. He was speaking at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on June 22, 2023 in Washington, DC.

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U.S. President Joe Biden dismissed concerns about his comment referencing Chinese leader Xi Jinping a “dictator,” saying his remarks did not undermine diplomatic efforts to mend fragile ties between the two countries.

“I don’t think it’s had any real consequence,” Biden told reporters Thursday at a joint press conference in Washington with the visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Biden labeled Xi a dictator during a campaign fundraiser in California on Tuesday, just one day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his first official visit to Beijing.

Within hours, China shot back with a sharp response, calling Biden’s comment “utterly absurd and irresponsible” and a “provocation.”

The Chinese ambassador to Washington, Xie Feng, made “strong protests” to senior White House and State Department officials, NBC News reported.

“I’ve said this for some time — that the hysteria about the relationship with China is collapsing and moving, etc, etc. We had an incident that caused some — some confusion, you might say,” Biden said Thursday. “But Secretary Blinken had a great trip to China. I expect to be meeting with President Xi sometime in the future, in the near term.”

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