China expressed firm opposition Thursday to U.S. President Joe Biden's fresh reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a dictator shortly after their summit meeting near San Francisco, saying his remarks were "extremely wrong" and an "irresponsible political manipulation."
Without naming Biden, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference in Beijing that there are always some people with "ulterior motives" who try to disrupt Sino-U.S. relations, but such efforts will not succeed.
At a press conference following his talks with Xi, Biden characterized the Chinese leader as a dictator in the sense that he "runs a country that is a communist country based on a form of government totally different than ours."
Biden made the remarks just after praising the progress made in lowering the temperature between Washington and Beijing. In June, the U.S. president had described Xi as a dictator at a fundraising event in California, triggering a sharp reaction from China.
The U.S. president said at the time that Xi was upset over tensions surrounding a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had been shot down by a U.S. fighter jet in February. "That's a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn't know what happened," Biden said, according to reports.