New Zealand’s prime minister disagrees with Joe Biden and says Xi Jinping is not a “dictator”.

New Zealand’s prime minister disagrees with Joe Biden and says Xi Jinping is not a “dictator”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hepkins, ahead of his official trip to China at the end of the month, said on Thursday that he disagreed with US President Joe Biden’s statement that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was a dictator.

“No, the form of government in China is a matter for the Chinese people,” Hipkins told reporters.

When asked by a reporter whether the Chinese people have a say in the form of government, Mr. Hipkins replied, “If they want to change their system, they should do it”: “If they want to change their system of government, it is up to them to do so.”

Hipkins is due to visit China from June 25-30, leading a trade delegation that includes some of New Zealand’s largest companies. He will meet with Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhao Lijie.

China hit back on Wednesday after Biden called President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” saying the remarks were illogical and provocative, an unexpected escalation after attempts by both sides to reduce friction.

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