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Russia says Biden calling Xi a ‘dictator’ shows US is erratic


MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Wednesday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s reference to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as a dictator showed U.S. foreign policy was inconsistent and erratic.

At a fundraiser in California on Tuesday, Biden discussed a a Chinese spy balloon the United States shot down earlier this year, saying Xi had become upset because he hadn’t known its location, “a great embarrassment for dictators”.

The Kremlin was quick to seize on Biden’s remark as a chance to criticise Washington, while underlining its own close ties to Beijing.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there was a contradiction between Biden’s comment and the efforts of his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to lower tensions with Beijing at a meeting with Xi earlier this week.

“These are very contradictory manifestations of U.S. foreign policy, which speak of a large element of unpredictability,” Peskov told reporters.

He said Biden’s comment was an “incomprehensible” follow-up to what he described as “various conciliatory statements” during Blinken’s visit.

“However, that’s their business,” Peskov said. “We have our own bad relations with the United States of America and our very good relations with the People’s Republic of China.”

Beijing hit back at the United States on Wednesday, saying Biden’s remarks were absurd and a provocation.

Russia and China declared a “no limits” strategic partnership last year, less than three weeks before President Vladimir Putin sent his army into Ukraine.

Since then, with the imposition of Western sanctions, Moscow has become even more reliant on political and economic ties with China. Beijing has not condemned Russia over the conflict and has stepped up purchases of discounted Russian oil and coal.

Estranged from the West, Russia is courting countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to counter what it portrays as U.S. attempts to dictate the world order.

Peskov placed Biden’s remark in that context, saying that U.S. hectoring had become “unacceptable for a huge number of states, and this number is constantly growing”.

In March 2021, Russia recalled its ambassador from Washington for several months after Biden called Putin a “killer” in a television interview.

(Reporting by ReutersWriting by Mark TrevelyanEditing by Peter Graff)

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