President Biden warned on Thursday that China was outpacing the US on infrastructure investments and said Beijing will “eat our lunch” if the US doesn’t step up spending.
Biden made the comments to reporters in the Oval Office before a meeting with a group of senators about infrastructure spending. He spoke of China’s investments in high-speed rail and automobiles. “They have major, major new initiatives on rail. And they already have rail that goes 225 miles an hour with ease,” he said.
“They’re investing a lot of money, they’re investing billions of dollars and dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things,” Biden said. “If we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch.”
During his presidential campaign in 2019, Biden made similar comments, although this time he was downplaying the idea that China was such a threat. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” he said.
Biden mentioned his phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping that took place Wednesday night. According to a readout of the call from the White House, Biden confronted Xi on issues in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan.
Besides domestic infrastructure, the US is threatened by Beijing’s investment in overseas infrastructure projects. The Trump administration had discouraged its allies from participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
President Biden seems keen to continue the hostile China policies of the Trump administration. US military activity near China’s coast has not slowed down, the National Security Council has been restructured to focus on Asia, and the Pentagon launched a task force to review the US military’s strategy towards Beijing.