New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has insisted that Chinese dictator Xi Jinping is not a dictator.
Hipkins made the assertion ahead of his official trip to China at end of this month.
Hipkins said he did not agree with US President Joe Biden's remark that the Chinese authoritarian was an authoritarian.
"No, and the form of government that China has is a matter for the Chinese people," Hipkins told journalists.
Hipkins said that the Chinese people could always decide not to live under a totalitarian regime if they wanted to.
"If they wanted to change their system of government, then that would be a matter for them,” he said.
Hipkins is scheduled to lead a trade delegation to China from June 25 to 30.
He will meet Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, and the chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, Zhao Leji.
China hit back on Wednesday after Biden referred to President Xi Jinping as a "dictator", saying the remarks were absurd and provocative.