Secretary of State Antony Blinken, still reeling from his comments that conflicted with the White House on the Middle East and being blasted by Republicans for his role in releasing $10 billion in frozen assets to Iran, is in the hotseat again.
On Wednesday, Blinken appeared to wince when President Joe Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator.”
The New York Post reported that Blinken “physically recoiled and appeared to shake his head and fidget with his hands as Biden spoke.
Blinken’s body language was reportedly so pronounced that former Italian diplomat Marco Carnelos mentioned it in a post on X.
The public comment was made in response to CNN reporter MJ Lee in advance of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC).
President Biden, who has a track record of tough talk but being more bark than bite, was asked by Lee if he still considered XI Jinping a dictator, as he stated several years ago.
Biden replied: “Well look, he is [a dictator],” the president said. “I mean, he’s a dictator in the sense that he is a guy that runs a country that is a communist country and a form of government totally different than ours.”
Blinken appeared uncomfortable with Biden’s response. Some consider the response unwise as Biden and Xi Jinping have the opportunity for extensive sidebar meetings while both leaders attend the San Francisco Summit.
The Daily Caller reported that Biden and Xi Jinping already had one face-to-face meeting and spoke of the importance of “maintaining open lines of communication.”
Many are concerned about China’s aggressive moves toward Taiwan; her growing military alliances with North Korea, India, Iran, and Russia; the fentanyl production originating in China and flowing into the United States across the southern border; and multiple reports of human rights abuses.
On Wednesday, Xi Jinping reportedly agreed to take steps to “dramatically curtail” fentanyl production in his country.
Last week, Chinese state media expressed optimism that their communist leader would leave the APEC Summit with concessions from the United States.
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