Sen. Mitt Romney expressed his concerns about the lack of a comprehensive U.S. strategy on China ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who is visiting the U.S. to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit this week.

“The administration must deliver this strategy — as mandated by law — without delay, Romney, R-Utah, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Our government cannot continue to chase China with offers of concessions without concrete action from the Chinese Communist Party, especially in instances where they have no interest in making meaningful changes to their own behavior in the first place,” he said.

The Utah senator said he hoped that, amid the “global battle between authoritarianism and democracy,” Biden would send Xi a clear message for China to back down from campaigning against the U.S. and its allies.

But while Biden said he planned to have a “candid” conversation with Xi, administration officials said they don’t expect any substantial agreements to come out of this exchange. The biggest goal is to open up communication lines with China, Biden had said ahead of his departure to San Francisco.

Related
San Francisco cleaned up before President Xi Jinping’s visit

Biden focused on having a ‘candid’ conversation with Xi

Biden welcomed Xi to California on Wednesday. The pair shook hands on a red carpet rolled out in front of the Filoli Historic House.

They engaged in a bilateral meeting at the estate, which is roughly 20 minutes away from South San Francisco, where the APEC Summit is being held.

Sitting on opposite sides of a long conference table, Biden and Xi gave their opening remarks where they spoke about managing competition between the U.S. and China while addressing challenges that come with climate change and artificial intelligence.

“As always, there is no substitute to face to face discussions. I’ve always found our discussions straightforward and frank,” Biden said.

He said that he has known Xi for a long time, admitting they’ve not always agreed, but their meetings “have always been candid, straightforward, and useful.”

Biden said the competition between the two countries should be managed responsibly, adding that a candid exchange is what the world expects from both leaders.

While no substantial agreements are expected, the two countries reportedly plan to launch a joint working group to address the issue of fentanyl, allegedly created in Chinese labs, which is illegally pouring into the U.S., as Bloomberg previously reported.

What did Xi say to Biden during their bilateral meeting?

Xi began his remarks by recalling his first meeting with Biden in China when both Xi and Biden were vice presidents. “I still remember our interactions very vividly,” Xi said, as translated by the White House.

He noted the impact the pandemic has had on industrial sectors and the supply chain, which still faces challenges, as well as the global economy, which “is recovering, but its momentum remains sluggish.” Xi called them grave problems.

While Xi acknowledged the tumultuous relationship the two countries have had for the last half-century, he said that turning their backs on each other isn’t an option.

“Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed,” he said. Despite the differences in American and Chinese history and culture, the two countries can coexist and work together as long as there is mutual respect, Xi added.

To Biden, he said, “We shoulder heavy responsibilities for the two peoples, for the world, and for history.”

Their initial meeting lasted two hours, followed by lunch. They ate ricotta ravioli, artichoke crisps, roasted chicken, rice pilaf, broccolini and Brussels sprouts for the main course, with almond meringue cake and praline buttercream for dessert, as CNN reported.