Alwaght- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken upheld President Joe Biden’s recent labeling of his Chinese counterpart as a “dictator,” which Beijing slammed as “extremely absurd.”
“The President always speaks candidly, he speaks directly. He speaks clearly, and he speaks for all of us,” Blinken claimed during a televised interview with the local CBS News network’s Face the Nation program.
Biden’s remarks during a fundraising event on Tuesday came just days after Blinken returned from a high-profile visit to China that was widely publicized as a bid to ease tensions with Beijing, where he met with President Xi Jinping and other high-level Chinese officials.
The visit followed surging tensions between the world’s two biggest economies and rival military powers over persisting disputes in areas such as Taiwan, trade and regional influences.
China was quick to respond to Biden’s offensive remarks, blasting them “a blatant political provocation.”
“China expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning during a press briefing last week. “The US remarks are extremely absurd and irresponsible.”
On Sunday, Blinken did not make any efforts to walk back the president’s comments.
“The main purpose [of the trip] was to bring some greater stability to the relationship. We have an obligation, and I think China has an obligation to manage that relationship responsibly, to make sure that the profound differences we have don’t veer into conflict,” Blinken proclaimed.
“But one of the things that I said to [my] Chinese counterparts during this trip was that we are going to continue to do things, and say things that you don’t like, just as you’re no doubt going to continue to do and say things that we don’t like,” he further boasted.
Prior to his visit to Beijing, Blinken insisted that the objective of his China visit was to restore channels of communication with Chinese officials in an effort to avoid miscalculations by the two sides turning into an all-out military confrontation.
Blinken was the highest-ranking US official to visit China since the incumbent president took office in 2021.
The visit came as China’s top military officials have refused to hold talks with the Americans in recent months, citing US sanctions slapped against Beijing as an obstacle to their bilateral relationship.