The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday excoriated President Joe Biden for again referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "dictator" following a meeting between the pair in San Francisco at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
"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," Biden said after the talks, earning forceful condemnation from Chinese officials. Xi has governed China since 2013.
"This statement is extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation," foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, according to Reuters. "It should be pointed out that there will always be some people with ulterior motives who attempt to incite and damage U.S.-China relations, they are doomed to fail."
Biden previously called Xi a dictator in June of this year, asserting that the February episode of the suspected Chinese spy balloon traversing the United States had been an embarrassment for him.
"China is real — has real economic difficulties. And the reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two boxcars full of spy equipment in it is he didn’t know it was there. No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened," he said at the time.
The balloon travelled across much of the United States before the military shot it down off the coast of the Carolinas.
In response, Mao at the time called the remarks "a blatant political provocation."
"China expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition," Mao continued. "The U.S. remarks are extremely absurd and irresponsible."
The Thursday exchange followed Xi publicly signaling a willingness toward further cooperation with the United States the prior day. Specifically, he suggested that China may continue its policy of so-called "panda diplomacy" by sending the U.S. a new pair of giant pandas to replace the ones that returned to China earlier in November.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.