By Scott Murdoch
(Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday he regretted his remarks that the Wall Street bank would last longer than China’s Communist Party.
“I regret and should not have made that comment. I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company,” Dimon said in a statement issued by the bank.
Speaking at a Boston College series of CEO interviews on Tuesday, Dimon said: “I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year – so is JPMorgan (NYSE:). I’d make a bet that we last longer.”
“I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway,” he added.
A JPMorgan spokesperson added that Dimon had acknowledged that he should “never speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.”
“During the discussion Jamie made clear China and its people are very smart and very thoughtful.”
Saying he regretted the comments comes a week after Dimon was granted an exemption by the Hong Kong government to visit the Chinese-controlled financial hub without needing to quarantine.
Visitors to the city from most countries must stay in hotel quarantine for two two to three weeks at their own cost.
Dimon was in Hong Kong for 32 hours after arriving by private jet.
JPMorgan has major ambitions in China and in August it regulatory approval from Beijing to become the first full foreign owner of a securities brokerage in the country.
Its other business interests in mainland China include asset management and futures business.
Global executives typically choose their words carefully when discussing China, where foreign companies have occasionally been subject to backlash for perceived offenses.
Dimon has had to backtrack before from public statements critical of others.
In September 2018, Dimon was speaking at a conference and said he could beat President Donald Trump in a campaign because he was smarter than Trump.
And, Dimon added, he had earned his wealth and didn’t get it from his father. Within an hour Dimon released a written statement saying that he should not have made the comment and he added that his original comments had proved that he “wouldn’t make a good politician”.
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