While speaking to reporters at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Joe Biden referred to Xi Jinping as a dictator.

“After today, would you still refer to President Xi as a dictator?” a reporter asked.

“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,” Biden replied.

WATCH:

A separate clip shows the reaction from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Fox News reports:

Biden’s first reference to Xi as a “dictator” came amid the aftermath of a Chinese spy balloon traversing the continental U.S., which caused an uproar after the president waited until it was off the coast of South Carolina before giving the order to bring it down.

“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. That’s a great embarrassment for dictators when they didn’t know what happened,” Biden said.

At the time, his comments incited outrage from the Chinese government, who referred to them as “extremely absurd and irresponsible.”

Amid his summit with Xi on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a blunt warning about America’s friendly relations with Taiwan, referring to the “Taiwan question” as “the most important and most sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations.”

“The U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence’, stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification. China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable,” she wrote in a post on X.

China criticized the comments made by Joe Biden.

“This statement is extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters, POLITICO reports.

Per POLITICO:

China’s foreign ministry said it “strongly opposes” Biden’s remarks, without mentioning him by name. “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,” she said.

When asked by a reporter on Wednesday if Biden still believed Xi was a dictator, Biden stood by the assessment that he made earlier this year.

“Look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country,” Biden said during a news conference, just after he announced agreements on a number of confidence-building measures with his Chinese counterpart.

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Biden’s remarks came after a four-hour session with Xi — the first meeting between the two in a year.

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