US President Joe Biden called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a "dictator" when he spoke about his reaction to the downing of a Chinese reconnaissance balloon.
According to Biden's speech in California at an event to raise funds for his election campaign, Xi Jinping was very outraged when the United States decided to shoot down the balloon.
"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. No, I'm serious. That's a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn't know what happened," Biden said.
He added that the balloon went off course and should not have flown where it was shot down, and Xi Jinping did not know about this.
"When the balloon was shot down, he was very confused. He denied that it was there at all," Biden said.
On 18-19 June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting China. He held talks with Foreign Minister Qin Gang, which the State Department called "meaningful and constructive."
On 19 June, Blinken met with Xi Jinping. These talks were the first meeting of this level between the United States and China since 2018.