Before his official visit to China at the end of the month, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins stated on Thursday that he disagreed with U.S. President Joe Biden's assertion that Chinese President Xi Jinping was a dictator.
Hipkins told reporters, "No, and the form of government that China has is a matter for the Chinese people.
When asked if Chinese citizens could influence the type of government, Hipkins replied, "If they wanted to change their system of government, then that would be a matter for them."
Hipkins is leading a trade delegation to China from June 25 to June 30 that includes some of the largest businesses in New Zealand. He will have meetings with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, and Zhao Leji, the head of the NPC standing committee.
Following attempts by both sides to defuse tension, China retaliated on Wednesday after Biden referred to President Xi Jinping as a "dictator," calling the comments absurd and provocative.