President Joe Biden, after hailing Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s diplomatic meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a “Hell of a job,” decided to undermine the benefits of the visit in a spectacular way.
In a one-two punch, Biden insulted Xi twice in as many sentences.
“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 in it, was he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said. “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened.”
Biden described the February 2023 balloon incident as accidental, managing to undermine Xi’s authority in the process of defending his own stance about the balloon’s presence.
“That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was,” Biden explained. “It was blown off course up through Alaska and then down through the United States, and he didn’t know about it. When it got shot down, he was very embarrassed. He denied it was even there.”
Much as the Biden administration did as they allowed it to float unchallenged through American airspace?
Biden also went on to claim that China is struggling financially. “Don’t worry about China,” Mr. Biden said. “I mean, worry about China, but don’t worry about China.” He then added, “No, but I really mean it. China is real — has real economic difficulties.”
Naturally, the Chinese weren’t pleased, especially as these remarks happened hours after Blinken’s triumphant return to America and promises of continued talks with Xi.
But Biden’s not worried that his unscripted, inflammatory words will affect ongoing diplomatic efforts with China. He dismissed his comments with a casual, “I don’t think it’s had any real consequence.”
Someone needs to tell Xi that, however, as the responses from China have been swift and heated.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., Liu Pengyu, said China will not accept “political provocation against Xi. “We urge the U.S. side to immediately take earnest actions to undo the negative impact and honor its own commitments. Otherwise, it will have to bear all the consequences.”
Meanwhile, Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called Biden’s comments as “extremely absurd and irresponsible” and “go totally against facts and seriously violate diplomatic protocol, and severely infringe on China’s political dignity.”
“It is a blatant political provocation,” Mao said.
Mao also took the chance to reiterate China’s balloon story, claiming again it was a meteorological balloon that strayed off course.
Bonnie Glaser, Asia director of the George Marshall Fund of the United States, blames the right…and Biden’s own lack of brain-mouth filter.
“He’s under a lot of criticism from the right. He doesn’t want to be seen as soft on China. He views Xi Jinping as a dictator,” Glaser said, going on to add, “And he’s not very good … at differentiating what should be said in public and what should be said in private. And the relationship pays a price for it. There’s no doubt about it.”
She’s not alone in thinking Biden seems to say the wrong thing every time he goes unscripted. Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said simply, “Biden’s big mouth is a loose cannon. Wu believes that while Biden’s remarks will affect China’s trust in the U.S., they probably won’t negate the benefits of Blinken’s visit to Xi.
Yun Sun, head of the China program at Washington’s Stimson Center, believes the U.S. “wants to let this quietly go away.” She feels there is no real damage done to relations, explaining, “The Chinese will not want to blow this out of proportion, ruining the prospect of a process leading to Xi’s bilateral summit with Biden in November.”
Biden’s comments are words heard around the world, and other countries took note.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Biden’s comments went against Blinken’s efforts to ease tensions with Beijing and described the remarks as “incomprehensible.”
He went on to add, “That’s their business. We’ve our own bad relations with the United States of America and our very good relations with the People’s Republic of China.”
Other countries are withholding judgment in the global eye. A spokesperson for Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, responded neutrally, “The Federal Government has taken note of the American President’s statement.”
It’s not as if Biden didn’t know that Xi dislikes the term. In 2022, Xi told Biden that China has “Chinese-style democracy,” taking offense at the word “dictator.”
As for China, they seem unamused by “Uncle Joe’s “aww, shucks” moments that the liberal media find so endearing. While it’s unlikely this unplanned “verbal assault” will affect the future of China and America, three things are very clear.
China is listening very closely.
The world is listening very closely.
And Biden’s handlers deserve a raise for the constant amount of crap the president puts them through every time he opens his mouth.