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Only a few hours after his meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, President Joe Biden called the Chinese President a “dictator.” He made the comment at the end of the press conference about his summit with Xi, after stating he would take no more questions. As he started walking towards the exit, a reporter asked him if he still considered Xi a “dictator,” as he had earlier in the year. Biden confirmed that he still does.

“Well, look, he is. I mean, he’s a dictator in the sense that he—he is a guy who runs a country that—it’s a communist country that is based on a form of government totally different than ours.

“Anyway, we made progress.”

Shortly after the comment, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning it—while recognizing that it was an obvious attempt to sour the summit.

“This kind of speech is extremely wrong and is irresponsible political manipulation. China firmly opposes it,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said. “I need to point out that there are always some people with ulterior motives attempting to sow discord and wreck China-U.S. relations, and this, too, will not succeed,” she added, according to various media.