The US president said he stood by his description of Xi Jinping as a ?dictator,? hours after meeting him in San Francisco
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has described as erroneous and irresponsible Joe Biden's characterization of Xi Jinping as a "dictator."
The US president doubled down on the description, however, hours after meeting his Chinese counterpart in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Biden was asked during a solo press conference following the talks whether he would still use the term "dictator" to describe Xi, as he did in June.
"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's based on a form of government totally different than ours," he responded.
When asked about Biden's comments during a press briefing on Thursday, Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the statement was "absolutely wrong" and that Beijing objected to this "irresponsible political manipulation." She condemned attempts to "sow discord between the two nations."
Ahead of the summit, the US president reportedly criticized Xi's leadership during a fundraiser. Biden claimed that, with Xi at the helm, China had "real problems" and said it was "another example of how reestablishing American leadership in the world is taking hold," according to media reports.
Mao reacted to the remark on Wednesday, stressing that mutual respect was "fundamental" for building bilateral relations. She said all nations have some problems, and expressed hope that the US could solve its own and improve the lives of its people.
The Biden administration has built its foreign policy around a notion of a global confrontation between "democracies" and "autocracies," with the latter category including nations opposing Washington's influence, including China and Russia.
In March, Biden hosted a so-called "Summit of Democracy," the second event of its kind. The self-administered Chinese island of Taiwan was on the guest list in what was perceived as a snub to Beijing.