White House press secretary Jen Psaki walked back President Joe Biden’s assertion that China would face “repercussions” for their human rights abuses.
One reporter asked Psaki during the White House press briefing for clarification about Biden’s comments about China during a CNN town hall on Tuesday.
When CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Biden about China’s human rights abuses and a crackdown on political activists, Biden replied that “there will be repercussions for China” and that Chinese communist party leader Xi Jinping “knows that.”
But Psaki refused to say whether Biden was planning any sanctions or blacklisting Chinese companies.
Instead, she pointed back to the “full context” of Biden’s statements about his commitment to voice American values in his conversations with Xi.
“Whether it’s human rights as it relates to the Uyghurs and what they have suffered through, or the freedom of press or media, they can’t take a backseat,” Psaki said.
Biden added during the interview that Xi understood that he would continue to voice criticism about China’s actions.
“He gets it,” Biden replied. “Culturally, there are different norms that each country and they — their leaders — are expected to follow.”
But Psaki said the Biden administration was in no hurry to do anything aggressive on China.
“As it relates to our policy toward China, we are not in a rush,” she said, citing an “ongoing policy process.”