This reaction threatens to undermine the White House's attempts to soothe strained relations with Beijing.
The two leaders met in person in California on Wednesday, marking their first face-to-face encounter since November 2022. The meeting was part of a concerted effort to ease the strained relations between the two superpowers.
However, in the aftermath of the meeting, Biden reiterated his earlier assertion that Xi is a dictator, a statement that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) vehemently denounced as "political manipulation," as reported by Reuters.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded to Biden's comments on Thursday, stating, "This statement is extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation," according to Reuters. Mao added that they "strongly oppose" Biden's remarks, although he did not mention Biden 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," Mao continued. However, Mao declined to elaborate on who he was referring to when he mentioned "some people."
Following a four-hour bilateral meeting with Xi, Biden held a solo press conference where he highlighted the progress made by the two world leaders. They agreed to resume military-to-military communications and to work together to "dramatically curtail" the production of fentanyl precursors.
When asked by a reporter if he still referred to President Xi as a dictator, Biden responded, "Well, look, he is. I mean he’s a dictator in a sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that is based on a form of government totally different than ours."
Despite the CCP's backlash, Biden and Xi's meeting was initially hailed as a success, signaling a potential improvement in their unstable relationship. In the days leading up to the meeting, the White House had downplayed expectations.
"I welcome the positive steps we’ve taken today and it’s important for the world to see that we’re implementing the approach in the best traditions of American diplomacy," Biden said in a Wednesday press conference. A senior administrative official added, "President Biden did not pull punches. He was respectful but very clear."