US President Joe Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a ‘dictator’. Biden’s remark, at the end of his meeting with Jinping as they had their first face-to-face meeting in a year on Wednesday. The two world leaders vowed to stabilize their fraught relationship by showcasing modest agreements and combat illegal fentanyl and re-establish military communications.
“He is a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is communist,” Biden said, adding that the Chinese government “is totally different than ours.”
For security reasons, the two leaders held the talks at a private location — the historic Filoli Estate in Woodside, California, outside San Francisco — near where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is being held this week.
The two men smiled and shook hands after Biden walked out to greet his Chinese counterpart and then the leaders immediately walked inside.
With the delegations seated around a large conference table, Biden said, “I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you understand each other clearly, leader-to-leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication. We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”
Noting their personal history, Biden expressed his appreciation for their “straightforward and frank” discussions in the past.
They reached expected agreements to curb illicit fentanyl production. Many of the chemicals used to make synthetic fentanyl come from China to cartels that traffic the powerful narcotic into the U.S., which is facing an overdose crisis.
The two leaders also agreed on the resumption of military-to-military level talks with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart taking the lead, while the PACIFIC Commander has operational-level engagement with his counterparts in China, he said.
They even agreed to ‘pick each other’s calls’.