Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
June 21, 2023
When the President of the US speaks, the world pays attention. More so, the world also makes some judgements about the US first, then the President as a person.
Lately, the US is fiercely fighting among themselves, and society is getting more violent and divided. The US is declining because the US as a nation is losing self-confidence and self-respect. As such, many people in the US are getting more and more abusive, civility is losing ground. Talking tough becomes a cover of inner weakness, even though it is not effective. If a nation is losing its decency, how can she be a true global leader?
Diplomacy is key to maintaining global order among different nations and cultures. True diplomacy is based on mutual respect, not bullying. Being a truly good leader of a nation, one has to behave better than his/her peers or do a better job than his/her peers with a proven record. Unless a national leader is respected and supported the majority by his/her own people, there is no way that he/she would be a real global leader>
Biden at a domestic political rally called a foreign leader a “dictator” because Biden was asking for donations/supports to run for re-election from a weak position. If the US under Biden were having the best time in history, he only needs to talk about his achievements and people would vote for him again. But his public supporting level at home is very shaky so Biden had to make his China “position,” because Biden does not have a real China policy, palatable for the Republicans, his political rivalries.
Biden may or may not be re-elected in 2024, but he will not be the trusted interlocuter with any Chinese leader. Many Chinese will take their time and patiently waiting for dealing with the next non-Biden US President.
China hits back after Biden calls Xi a ‘dictator’
June 21, 202312:43 PM PDTUpdated 6 hours ago
KENTFIELD, California/BEIJING, June 21 (Reuters) – China hit back on Wednesday after U.S. President Joe Biden referred to President Xi Jinping as a “dictator”, saying the remarks were absurd and a provocation, an unexpected flare-up following attempts by both sides to reduce friction.
Biden made his comments just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken completed a visit to China aimed at stabilizing relations that Beijing says are at their lowest point since formal ties were established in 1979.
At a fundraiser in California, Biden said Xi was very embarrassed when a suspected Chinese spy balloon was blown off course over U.S. airspace early this year. Blinken had said on Monday the chapter should be closed.
“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,” Biden said.
“That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was. It was blown off course,” Biden said.
But Tuesday’s remarks about the Chinese leader were some of his most direct.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called the remarks “extremely absurd” and “irresponsible” and said they seriously violated facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity.
“They’re an open political provocation,” she told a regular briefing.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, asked if Biden’s comments would affect future visits by U.S. and Chinese officials, said Washington continued to expect engagements “in due course, when the time is appropriate.”
“The president believes that diplomacy … is a responsible way to manage tensions, clear up misperceptions, avoid miscalculations and all of this in our interests to do that,” Patel said. “That does not mean of course we will not be blunt and forthright about our differences.”
LASTING DAMAGE UNLIKELY
Political analysts played down the likely damage to U.S.-China engagement.
“Biden’s big mouth is a loose cannon,” said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. He said the remarks would affect mutual trust, including in communications between the leaders, but would not erase what Blinken had achieved on his China visit.
Yun Sun, head of the China program at Washington’s Stimson Center, said she thought the U.S. side “wants to let this quietly go away.”
“And the Chinese will not want to blow this out of proportion, ruining the prospect of a process leading to Xi’s bilateral summit with Biden in November,” referring to a possible meeting when the United States hosts the APEC forum.
Biden said later on Tuesday that U.S. climate envoy John Kerry may go to China soon. On Monday, he said he thought relations were on the right path and indicated that progress was made during Blinken’s trip.
Other world leaders seemed reluctant to get involved. Asked repeatedly about the situation, the spokesperson of German chancellor Olaf Scholz said only: “The Federal Government has taken note of the American President’s statement.”
U.S. senior officials caught off-guard by Biden’s calling Xi a ‘dictator’
Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube and Andrea Mitchell and Peter Nicholas and Ryan Nobles and Katherine Doyle
Wed, June 21, 2023 at 3:43 PM PDT
WASHINGTON — Senior U.S. officials said Wednesday that they were caught off guard when President Joe Biden described Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” — just 24 hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Beijing and appeared to reach a breakthrough in tense relations between the countries.
Officials privately sought to clarify Wednesday with the Chinese that Biden’s description of Xi does not reflect a new talking point or official policy shift by the administration. Officials said they don’t expect the controversy to be a major setback to the progress Blinken made during his China trip.
A second senior administration official said Wednesday that Blinken is accustomed to the president making remarks that cause a stir and is not upset. The official indicated that the Chinese were well aware from their lengthy talks with Blinken that the U.S. would still disagree with them on some issues but that the two superpowers still need to work with each other where they can.
The official predicted China is “probably more angry about Biden saying Xi is not all-powerful and didn’t know what was going on with the balloon.”
Evident that the remarks by Biden were not planned, officials offered various takes on the remarks.
A third senior U.S. official played down Biden’s remark, saying he was making a comment about dictators generally, not calling the Chinese leader one specifically. But another official said it was clear the president was calling Xi a dictator.
On other occasions, Biden has chosen to publicly speak his mind on sensitive foreign policy matters in a way that is at odds with his administration’s official policy even when the eyes of the world are on him. Biden has said multiple times that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China made a move on Taiwan, for instance, only for his aides to clarify that his comments were not a change in longtime U.S. policy. And at the end of a speech in Poland on the war in Ukraine, Biden said of Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Administration officials swiftly moved to clarify that his off-the-cuff remark did not mark an official change in U.S. support for regime change in Russia.
But Biden’s comments didn’t create a firestorm of criticism from Republicans in Congress, who have often argued that the president is not tough enough on China. Instead, some Republican lawmakers encouraged Biden to embrace his comments.
“Biden is right: Xi is a dictator, and we should treat him as such,” House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas said in a statement. “This administration needs to stop accommodating Beijing, and needs to start moving forward competitive actions.”
But Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican and former governor of New Jersey who endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential race, said she was “puzzled” by his remarks.
“Was he not thinking and just said that because that’s what he believes, and he sort of forgot that what he’s been about is trying to ease tensions?” Whitman said in an interview. “It was bizarre to me, frankly, and that’s the kind of thing I’ll be watching. If there’s more of that, then we have to have real concerns.”